Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chai Tea

I can't believe that 2013 is almost over. Overall, this has been a pretty good year.  But right now, during these last couple of weeks of the year, it's the perfect time to settle in, enjoy some time with family, and snuggle up with a nice, hot drink.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I posted these chai spiced scones? I ground up way more cardamom than I needed. On purpose. because I knew that once I tasted those scones, I'd want more chai.

So the first thing I did was make a chai spice mix, called chai masala, using a delicious, spicy and tangy combination of spices.

The best part about the chai masala is that, even though that doesn't look like a lot in that jar, that is enough to last quite a while, because a little goes quite a long way.

Oh, and I'll take this oppotunity to say that both the chai masala recipe and the tea recipe using it come from the amazing Manu's Menu. If you haven't checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and head over there now. I mean... after reading this... or open it in another tab... but it's well worth reading. And adding to your blogroll. And reading again. Aside from being an amazingly talented and inspired cook and baker, Manu happens to also be a super sweet, very nice and beautiful person, inside and out.

So back to the chai...

Once I saw the chai recipe, I knew I had to try it.  Chai actually has a special place in my heart. When I was young and unsure about the direction of my life, I worked for one of those big bookstores. You know, the kind with a coffee shop right inside.  My favorite treat while I was there was the chai latte. The people who ran the cafe knew this. And when training new cafe employees, the always called me up to "test" how well the newbies made their chai. Ah, the perks of being the manager overseeing the training in a big bookstore...

Back to the point. Again.  Once I saw this recipe, I was very excited. Because it would be very nice to be able to make chai with ingredients I always have on hand, rather than needing to buy the pre-made powder or liquid concentrate.

And this was actually really easy to make!  Simply bring milk, water, sugar and a bit of the chai masala to a boil...

...then add a couple of tea bags (loose-leaf tea highly encouraged here... I just don't have any...) and let it boil for a few minutes more.

And, seriously, that's it.  Strain (if using loose tea) and serve and you have a delicious, sweet, spicy mug of warm goodness.

No joke, this puts the powder and concentrates to shame.  I will not be going back to those.  This drink definitely has a kick to it, but in a good way.  And the best part is that I have comoplete control over the ingredients and thus the flavor. So if you like yours a little sweeter or with a  bit more spice, you can totally make it work for you.

This is a fantastic treat to warm you on a cool winter night, and is the perfect beverage to keep you toasty while thinking back on a fun, delicious year.

Chai Tea
(from Manu's Menu)

Chai Masala:
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients into a small bowl or jar. Mix until well combined.
Store in an airtight container or glass jar.

Chai Tea:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk (I used coconut milk)
4 to 5 teaspoons sugar (I like mine sweeter, so I use 5 teaspoons)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chai masala
2 teaspoons tea leaves (I used two tea bags)

Put the water, milk, chai masala and sugar into a medium saucepan. Stir together and bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the tea leaves (or tea bags) and stir again. Let it simmer over low heat for a couple of minutes.
Turn the burner off, cover and let it steep for a couple of minutes.
Strain the mixture (especially if you used tea leaves) and serve hot.
(note: no specific times for how long to boil, simmer and steep this tea - you will find what works best for how strong you like your flavors)


1 comment:

  1. Awwww I am so glad you like it! And THANK THANK THANK YOU for all your sweet words! You are a special person too! Wishing you and your family a great 2014! :-)


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