tea, sugar, spice, and everything nice...

Aug 11, 2010

Chai. That is where my journey has led this week for Whipped. What exactly is Masala Chai (and not some rundown American version available at Starbucks, the real deal is what I inquired aloud to no one in particular). As soon as I saw ginger as one of the ingredients, besides going all gingerbread crazy, I decided to venture into the unknown yet again with some Indian spice inspired baking. Its a challenge after all, right, right! Ironically, I do love the gingerbread latte at Starbucks during Christmas time, but its the vague and lucid memory of sipping a warm cup of their classic chai latte that I knew...just knew...that would be the base for my recipe this week! So off I was to various sources, from blogs to Wikipedia, in search for the meaning of chai. Ahhh. One second, I'm having an Eat Pray Love moment, imagining myself in India atop an elephant...

Okay back! Now here's the deal. This is all in ode to one fine day, a day that was unlike any other. It was the day I tried gelato for the first time! Ok well second time, but that didn't seem as dramatic an opening. If you remember from this post, I was so awe struck from tasting gelato for the very first time in Montreal, that as soon as I returned, I had to get some of that party in my mouth again. I didn't have to go too far, as there is a highly recommended gelato shop by my Manhattan apartment, and I felt daring enough to order black raspberry with thai chili chocolate. Woah! That was damn good. I still can feel the spicy aftertaste in my mouth. So it is with that I want to set out on concocting the very best chai inspired recipe for this week's Whipped. What's a girl to do? Make the gosh darn chai tea, that's what! My researching led me here and here, and below are some snapshots from my adventures...

Beginner's Chai Tea
makes 2 cups
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk (or whole should you prefer)
  • 2 whole cardamon pods, pounded or 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger grated or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Darjeeling tea (didn't have this either, used English Breakfast teabag)
Optional flavors (you will have to test each spice and amount for your own desired flavor of Chai, I ended up using the cloves and stick only):
  • 3-6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-6 black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar

Method:

1. In a small pot, add water and grated ginger (and optional spices go in at this point). Allow it to come to a boil.
2. Add in milk and again allow it to come to a boil, stirring in between.
3. Stir in tea leaves and let it come to a rolling boil.
4. Turn off stove, add cardamom powder, cover and allow tea to steep for 3-4 minutes then strain into serving cups.
5. Add sugar to taste.

Notes: If you prefer a stronger (kadak) tea, allow it to boil a little longer. Tea bags may also be used in place of tea leaves.

I had the tea with my beloved gingerbread cookies that I made some time before, utterly failing at it, but this time...huge success!!

THE VERDICT:
Oh my, oh my is this delicious! Eat, Pray, Love moment has turned into an infatuation overnight! I so want to go to India if this is a glimpse into the orgy of spice mix concoctions that I could taste. This was really good, and hit the spot perfectly combined with gingerbread cookies. I totally understand now why people go ape shit over this during winter/holiday time. Its like a warm hug in a cup!

WHAT I LEARNED:
That Starbucks is overrated and anything on a menu can be made at home with the same, if not better results. It just takes love and patience...

11 comments:

  1. I am a chai fanatic, never thought about making my own! Definitely going to try this out!

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  2. @CouldIHaveThat, holy moly girly you definitely absolutely want to try it!! Just finished the batch and it was surprisingly delicious. Seriously, starbucks is overrated when homemade is this good :)

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  3. Ooh, I love chai! I had a flatmate that used to make her own but I've never tried it myself. Definitely going tog ive this ago.

    Your blog makes me hungry (and dare I say almost drool a little at the lovely pics), which is unfortunate as it is 11am and I am at work!

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  4. Hi Lola!
    Adore this post. Was random blog hopping and found you. What a delightful blog you have. I'll be back!
    I'd never thought of trying to rustle up my own Chai. Homemade with love & attention is always better than shop bought goods, even if it's imperfect.

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  5. I do like Chai but I've never found that perfect blend so this is something I will definitely try out when I have the time xoxo

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  6. I've never tried it! It looks lovely though, so I'll have to give this a go. Such pretty photos

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  7. i love chai! this looks fun!

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  8. You are a woman after my own heart. I, too, am a ginger fanatic. And this array of gingery goodness is pretty much the perfect meal for me. ;)

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  9. @Cate, oh if the perfect blend has been the reason then you DEFINITELY want to do it homemade. I had so much fun mixing my own spices to find a perfect match for my palette :)

    @Carolyn, ahhh that's lovely to hear! I am actually new to gingery goodness, but an overnight infatuated fan now as you can see xoxo

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  10. i absolutely love iced chai, i will definitely be trying this recipe out :D

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  11. Oh man this looks delicious! And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
    I recently launched my own blog, I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks!
    www.prettygoodfood.com

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xoxo
Leti