Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chai in the Winter

As I get older, day by day, in this cruel hoax called life, I cherish my caffeine-time as I try to get my brittle bones moving, my soggy brain firing, and my tired ass motivated. In the summer it's iced coffee, six sugars sitting in the bottom, sucked up in a crunchy caffeine stream.

But in the winter, when it gets cold, I have to follow my coddled taste buds and turn to Chai as my daily pick-me-up.   I do loves me some spice in the winter time.  Well-seasoned sweets, seasoned savories -- it all makes me feel so cozy.  I'm a New Englander by rights, so Pumpkin Pie, Indian Pudding, Bell Seasoning and the like are in my blood.  It's only natural that Chai is my choice for a starter.

In India, Chai is the term for tea, but unlike tea around most of the world, Chai is prepared with more than just black tea leaves.  There's a healthy amount of spice brewed into the mix as well, and can include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and more.  Chai is also served brewed hot with milk and sweetener, generally honey.  Oh, and it's fucking delicious.

DON'T go buy those ready-made mixes with dried milk and sugar added in.  They all seem too sweet to me.  There's so many great sites with recipes for you to try.  Just buy the above spices and some good Assam tea, and get busy in the kitchen finding the mix you like.  I do 1 part cardamom, 3/4 part cinnamon, 1/2 part ginger and a pinch of clove -- all powder in water until it boils and then let it simmer for 15minutes.  Add in my Assam and let it steep for 10 more.  Add honey and milk and let 'er rip!

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