Time for a Chai.....
If there is a time for chai it would be this one- a cold and wet winter afternoon. Chai is an Indian spiced tea that is warming AND sweet. It is sold in India in tea stalls along the road side and by Chai Wallahs on trains, railway stations and other busy places. It was often drunk in small cups- stainless steel, glass or clay.
I have fond memories of sitting after yoga practice with friends enjoying a glass of chai and watching the suburb wake up as people begin to get their day going.
The chai in India is special and nothing like the one I make at home. Some special ingredient is missing here, or perhaps it is the length of time it is brewed. And the chai I make at home really makes the chai in cafes (made with a powder or syrup) disappointing.
A wet and cold afternoon is perfect for giving it a try and it really is not that hard to make. For two cups start with about half a teaspoon of each whole spice- cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, green cardamon, brown cardamon, and pepper corns and break them in a mortar and pestle. Add to a pot with one and a half cups of water and a few slices of ginger. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes to release the flavours. Then add two teaspoons of tea, or two tea bags. Continue to simmer for 1 minute. Now add one to one and half cups milk or soy milk and heat to just before simmering. Strain and sweeten with sugar or honey.
If you don’t have all the spices, not to worry, it’s a very flexible recipe, use what you have. Likewise, instead of tea you can try rooibos or dandelion root. Experiment until you have found your flavours.