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.


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 ;)


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.

A Bowl Of Mush 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!

meldaresearchusa said...

When it comes to completion of Psychology cheap dissertation writing services for students, meeting deadlines is the most significant challenges that our nursing writing services have been facing.