Tag Archives: chai

Chai Latte

30 Oct

About this same time last year I was in India celebrating the birthday of my friend Annie Mariel.  During this trip – my second time in India, but my first time to Varanasi – I learned about Chai Masala Tea.  Chai is a Hindi word for tea and this delicious concoction is typically made with black tea and a mixture of spices –cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, among others.

Masala Blend

This delicious tea with milk is offered to any welcoming guests – at a store, at a home, even when watching the sunrise from a boat in the Ganges…

Drinking Chai     

And even though I have enjoyed this tea during my last two travels in India, I should not consume it on a regular basis because the black tea contains caffeine and caffeine neither agrees with me or is karma-free.  Caffeine is a stimulant and should be better avoided.

So to celebrate the anniversary of my first encounter with Chai Latte, I wanted to share with you my own caffeine-free version I now make at home. 

 

CHAI LATTE

1 ½ cups water
½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
5 pieces of star anise
About 10 cloves
½ cup of evaporated milk
2 tbs agave nectar
Ground cinnamon (optional)

 

  1. In a small sauce pan add the water, ginger, cinnamon, star anise and cloves.  Bring to a boil and steep all the ingredients in that boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Turn off the stove and leave those spices to continue to steep for about 30 minutes more.
  2.         
  3. Strain about ½ cup of the spiced water into a mug and add the evaporated milk.  Season with agave nectar.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon on top for garnish.

 

Next time, I’ll make it with sweetened condensed milk to see if I can achieve even a creamier consistency and will not need to add any agave nectar.

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Incredible India… Chai Masala Tea

14 Nov

This is something I learned in this past trip to India…

Every time you visit a store or for breakfast you get offered tea.  And the tea they refer to is chai masala tea.  This is a tea made already with milk and seasoned with some kind of sugar/sweetener and a blend of spices or masala.

Chai masala 1

The masala blend for the tea is usually a spice mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger and sometimes even peppercorns.

Masala Blend

I am not the tea drinker; Annie Mariel is the tea drinker here.  And the teas I usually drink are mostly herbal (chamomile, spearmint, linden, lemongrass, etc.) to avoid the caffeine in most teas.  But I was intrigued by this chai masala I was being offered all the time.

I loved it… it is traditionally served in these clay cups.  Not to worry, the cups are disposable and used only once.  Even when you get seconds, the cups are never reused.  I was told the cup itself gave some flavor to the tea and that even a second pouring would not taste the same as the first one.  And when I had tea in a paper cup or in a regular china cup, it did not taste the same as that original clay cup.

Drinking Chai      Chai @ Train

The one-time clay cups are also the preferred way to drink lassi, I later learned.  I believe these disposable clay cups are partly the reason why there’s so much dirt flying in the air all the time… Imagine all these clay cups being thrown into the curbside, they get pulverized, the dirt then flies all over the place… you can imagine the picture.

But my love affair with this tea was short-lived…  I wondered why I had not been offered this tea during my first trip if it’s so popular everywhere in India.  The reason??  It has caffeine, and in the line of vegetarianism I practice, we avoid caffeine as it is a stimulant that is not beneficial to a healthy nervous system.

But it is sooooooo good, I am on a mission now to recreate this delicious chai masala tea in a decaffeinated version.   Just stay tuned…  OK?

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