Friday, November 12, 2010


we're home on a saturday, kitten on lap, black sabbath on itunes, making chai. My first of the season.

I had an argument about chai during the week. There is a new dude in at work, who is from Delhi, and he says that the drink the westerners call chai is not for sale in India, and that if anything, tea is spiced with a little cardamom and that is all. I said that my friend from Hyderabad said that the spicy version is what they have there. He said 'well I don't know what they do in Hyderabad. But we don't have that stuff. It's not Indian'. It was a happy argument. We both were feeling tetchy and put upon and felt like disagreeing about tea. I offered him some Richer Mountain Blend if he felt like it. He told me about the Indian method for making tea, which is called chai in India but tea in western countries. You boil up the leaves and leave them on a gentle rolling boil for a time, add milk, wait until it's not quite boiling, and serve with sugar.

Anyway people always argue about chai recipes so I'm not going put mine in here. If I'm left alone and there is no one else around I put in so many cloves that it looks like coffee. I think this is wonderful but it's not popular. Oh no. The confest suggested recipe has two cloves per urn. Each to her own I guess.

---pause for tending and serving----

Oh yeah. That's a lovely cup of the drink the westerners call chai. It contains some of my mates' chai blend, and they put the spices in a sack, put a board on the sack and run over the board with a Kingswood. You can't get a whole lot more oz than that.

My recipe is
a whole lot of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves
half a nutmeg
a couple of peppercorns
several slices of ginger
some black tea

I boil it up for ten minutes, add the same amount of milk (soy if you're me) and boil for another ten. Then it boils over and I have to clean the stove. Then I drink it with honey or raw sugar, which you need a fair amount of if you've boiled up black tea, and less of if you've substituted with rooibos.
Then (and here's the clever bit) I sieve it into a teapot. Yes. Doling out the drink the westerners call chai with a cup or ladle creates a huge mess every time.

I think chai is best drunk when watching rock 'n' wrestling, but again, that's just me.

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