by Blossom of Light
I find comfort in a cup of tea. I drink herbal tisanes, flavored and plain, green and black teas. I’d been drinking various versions of chai at home made with teabags from different companies for some time before I learned how to mix my own. I had added warmed milk and a little sugar. Recently I learned how many Indians make chai at home. I have a new client who came from India as a youngster and she showed me how she makes it.
I had already gotten a packet of Assam from a shop in Seattle. Assam is black tea from India. I also had all the spices I needed! I had whole green cardamom pods, whole cloves, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, and whole black pepper.
My client says she never uses cloves, cinnamon or pepper in hers because her mother says they are “hot” spices and are not good for the body more than twice a week. I’m not sure what that means; I asked and I got the sense it had something to do with Ayurvedic practices. Hmmm, I really like cinnamon.
If you follow my client’s directions making tea you will get a very pleasant, lightly gingery chai. She makes two servings at a time. If I double it I have no trouble finding someone to drink the other cup. OK, I often drink the other cup.
Per Serving: Bring to boil in a small pan 1/2 Cup of water with 1 tsp. Assam, about a tsp. of fresh grated ginger, and 2 whole cardamom pods. You may add a tsp. or so of sugar at this point or omit it altogether. Simmer 5 minutes and then add 1/2 cup milk of your choice and bring back to simmer for another minute. Using a tea strainer, pour into cups and enjoy!
I have used this recipe and bashed the spices in a mortar, also adding 2 whole cloves, a small piece of cinnamon stick, and a few black peppercorns per person. I actually like it better without pepper and change the recipe as the mood suits. I continue to add cloves and cinnamon as I have learned that they are high in antioxidants. Her father mixes his spices in large quantities and grinds them in a small coffee grinder. I hope you try making your own.
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