January 15, 2010

Chai Tea

I had breakfast the other day with one of my favorite people in the whole world and splurged.  I ordered my forever-favorite, the customary dark chocolate mocha, and it was decadent~especially after 10 days of going without cream, chocolate or sugar!  For as exquisite as it was though, I admit, I couldn't help but eyeball Jeff's steaming cup of Chai.
It reminded me of how much I love the slow brewed gentle sweetness of good Chai Tea. 

I used to make this every morning, alongside coffee.  It was wonderful to pour into a thermos and sip throughout the day.  Holly introduced me to this recipe and after many years of buying Oregon Chai, which was already made up in a cardboard container, I switched.   Under Holly's tutelage, I bought my own stash of spices and haven't looked back since.  A huge benefit to making it from scratch is that A; it makes your kitchen smell like heaven and B; it's only as sweet as you decide.  My favorite way to make this is to use vanilla soy milk in place of regular milk and if you do need to add a dash of sweeteness, just stir in a tiny bit of honey or brown sugar. 

Most of the spices needed can be found in the bulk section of New Season's or Whole Foods, or you can easily order them online OR find them at an Indian Spice Market.  If you LOVE homemade chai in the morning, purchase these little magnetic backed spice tins and just snap them onto your fridge for easy access.  They look lovely and make it so easy to brew at a moments notice.

Chef Beekrum here at the Culinary School uses spices that his family sends him directly from Nepal and he makes a recipe similar to this one early mornings for the students in Term 1.  The warmth of the spices brewing draws them into class. 

bring 2 cups water to a slow boil while adding
8 crushed cardamon seeds
12 cloves
1 nickle sized piece of dried ginger root (or a knob of fresh ginger, which Holly loves!)
1/2 stick of cinnamon and then
let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
add 1.5 cups milk or soy milk and bring back to a slow boil.
simmer another 15-20 minutes and remove from heat.
add 2 tablespoons loose black tea and stir into brew, then
let sit for 4 minutes.
strain into mugs or chai cups and sweeten with brown sugar to taste.


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