At this time of year , as the temperature drops and the need to be inside and cozy with the fire on holding something warm takes over, I love to have a cup of tea infused with spices. 'Chai' or Indian spiced tea is made with a mix of spices that are designed to compliment the exisiting flavours of tea. There are lots of variations of recipies but this is the one that I use.
(makes around 4 servings)
1 stick of cinnamon approx 3cm in length or a stick of cassia bark 6cm in length.
6 green cardamon pods
4 whole black peppercorns
400ml of water
2 Tea bags of a Stong black tea of your choice. Some examples of black tea would be English Breakfast, Indian Assam, Earl Grey, Golden China but there are many more. Stong teas tend to be the cheapest most basic teas so you don't need to go out buying a designer brand for this recipe.
A thumb size piece of ginger roughly crushed
20ml Milk - if possible use a milk with some fat in it . There is some food science to this as spices and other aromatic compounds are made of molecules that dissolve best in alcohols and fats meaning you get a stonger flavour in a shorter time. You can of course use a non-fat milk, but you won't extract as many flavours from the spices. I personally love to use condensed milk!
A 5ml shot of dark rum ( optional )
Put all the spices except for the ginger into a pestle and mortar, coffee grinder or spice grinder. Grind to a rough - (not fine)- mix.
In a sauce pan bring the water to boil and add the tea bags, the crushed spices and the ginger. Simmer for around 10 minutes.
Add the milk and if using, the dark rum. Simmer for another minute.
Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into cups and serve warm.
There are many different variations to this simple chai recipe and it is absolutely acceptable to vary the spices used to really make it your own. Here are some other spices I sometimes use:
- 1 Star anise - this adds a sweet licorice flavour
- 5 Coriander seeds - this gives mild sweetness with a citurs undertone
- 3-5 Fennel seeds - adds a subtle licorice note.
- 1 Nutmeg - adds a sweet nutty flavour
- 2 All spice - adds warmth with sweet peppery overtones.
Do you have a signature chai blend? I would love to know! Great weekend everyone x