16 October 2009

It's Chai Time

It's 41° outside, and the constant, tiny daggers of rain for the past two days have made the thought of going anywhere absolutely preposterous.


Conditions like this spawn countless fair-weather (or rather, inclement-weather) tea-drinkers. That's fine with me; if you're not man enough to chug three steaming bowls of matcha when it's 95° and you're already pouring sweat at 8 a.m., that's your issue. I believe tea should be a part of every day regardless of the temperature, but then again, I've been accused of being stubborn or opinionated by almost everyone I know. Good thing I balance it out with such humor and charm.

And I don't think I'm above improvement. I made a big pot of chai earlier this week, and after a few unbiased, independent tastings, it became clear a recipe edit was needed. Playing off the classic chai that initiated TeaSpot, my new version is bolder and richer- thanks to a more concentrated spice infusion and smaller-leaf assam tea, as well as a bit of heavy cream- and shockingly (for me), less sweet.


Replacing the granulated sugar with honey conjures a subtler but more intriguing sweetness, and if you can find lavender honey, a warming vision of Proven├žal summer that gently spreads across your tongue and throughout your body. (Especially welcome as I sit here with two wool sweaters and a cashmere hat keeping me company.)

New Chai Tea

In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup heavy cream with 3 cups water. Lightly crush 1-2 cinnamon sticks, 6-8 cardamon pods, 6-8 cloves, a small pinch of black peppercorns and a hunk of fresh ginger, peeled, and add to milk mixture. Heat over medium-high until simmering, then cover and remove from heat. Let steep 15 minutes, then gently reheat to simmering and add 4-5 tablespoons assam tea. Cover and remove from heat; steep 4 minutes. Strain and stir in 1-2 tablespoons honey.

The very concept of a "new" recipe, especially for a drink as ancient and open to interpretation as chai, is a bit silly. But there's never anything wrong with working on your improvisation skills.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

These photos are gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

"A cashmere hat" is no way to refer to the Mr. McManD.

Yogic Chai said...

I liked your recipe. You seem to know what chai should taste like, instead of chai tea latte in most coffee shops these days.

You should take a look at our site at http://www.yogicchai.com

If you like REAL chai, you will really like ours ;)

best,

Ricardo Dacosta
Founder of Yogic Chai

anna said...

It is absolutely chai season! I drink 2-4 giant cups of tea no matter what the season but I rarely make chai unless it's chilly out. It's like a warm spicy hug.

ABowlOfMush said...

I only really like making chai with assam tea.
You even have the assam from Fortnum & Mason like me!
Good choice!

BDancersblog said...

I drink chai everyday, I'm a chai addict.......Luv it!