Sipping a hot cup of chai is an ultimate relaxing way to start chilly sunday morning. Now whether its winters or summers, we are just addicted to this cup of rejuvenating chai. By itself, chai or cha is merely the generic word for "tea" in much of South Asia and many other parts of the world. Today India is one of the world's largest producers of tea with 13,000 gardens and a workforce of more than 2 million people. The most popular tea gardens in India are in Assam and Darjelling. I was totally mesmerized by the beauty of acres of tea bushes, interspersed at regular intervals when I first saw the beautiful lush green Tea gardens of Munnar (Kerala), a place not to be missed if you are in India.
I simply love this warm old fashioned style chai (boiled tea on gas stove) over dip -dip chai (tea made with teabags). The aromatic flavor of freshly brewed spices just makes you crave for endless rounds of tea. There are endless varieties of tea, almost for every season. Some variations worthy of being tried in winters are Basil Tea, Mint Tea, Ginger tea and in summers, Fennel (saunf) tea or Lemon tea, the list of herbs and spices is endless, but nonetheless tea in every form is definetely going to soothe your mind and soul.
Here I'm sharing my husband's special recipe and the worlds best chai -Five Spice Chai, when every sip is a complement....... !!!
Milk : Half Cup
Water : 2 Cups
Cardamoms: 4 pods
Black Cardamom : 1 pod
Cloves: 2 pieces
Peppercorns: 1-2 pieces
Cinnamon : 1 small piece
Tea Leaves : 2 Tsp
Sugar : 2 tsp or to taste
A good practice is to take the spices & give them a quick grind on your mortar, alternatively you can get "Chai Masala" at many indian grocery stores. But you can't beat the freshness of fresh ground spices...
Boil water in a pan with five spices, black cardamom, green cardamom, crushed pepper corns, cinnamon & cloves (lightly crush to bring out the flavors). Cover the pan with lid, as to my experience, there is a huge difference in the aroma of tea made covered and uncovered.
Bring the water to boil and add Tea Leaves.
I prefer brewing Taj Mahal Orange Pekoe or Brook Bond "Red Label" for my Chai's, can't beat the flavor. Let the tea leaves brew for 4-5 minutes in boiling water.
Add 1/2 cup of milk and sugar to taste at this point & simmer for few minutes.
When the tea is done, give it a grace period of another one to two minutes with lid covered, to let the spices lose all their flavor to the chai.
Use a strainer to filter the tea into your tea cup. As you see here I'm serving Tea in Kulhars or Kasora's (traditional handle-less terracotta cups from North India), this is how chai is traditionally served.
Lastly, to make every sip a complement, I like to garnish the tea with crushed green cardamom, lends it a great flavor...turning milk-addicts like me into tea lovers...!
My favorite chai in the winters, and a wonderful way to start your day on lazy sunday morning...!!!
Note: Try all the spices or any single spice or blend two spices. Add the desired quantity of spices to taste.
Recipe of Chai Latte:
This recipe of Chai latte was made famous by Starbucks. The word chai denotes tea and latte is a kind of coffee but made of hot milk.
Only variation in this recipe is to make the milk frothy.
Check out the quick recipe...
- Milk: 1/2 cup
- Vanilla Extract: 1/4tsp
- Water: 1 cup
- Sugar: 1tsp
- Spice Mix: 1/2 tsp, fresh
- Nutmeg: a pinch, optional
Brew the freshly crushed spices in water.
Add sugar, Fill 1/4th of the cup with tea/spice mix.
Boil the milk and add vanilla extract.
Whisk the milk with handblender to make it creamy and frothy.
Pour this hot milk over the 1/4th filled cup till top and add a dash of nutmeg.
A rich and creamy chai latte is ready to be enjoyed with fresh homemade gingerbread or Biscuits ... !