Thursday, August 11, 2005

chai guy

It's official, I have fallen madly in love...with chai. Chai, for those of you who don't know, is a heavenly Indian Spiced Milk tea. It's made from a blend of black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, pepper, and who knows what else. Since the weather is scorching around here these days, I've been prone to indulging in an iced chai at least once a day, sometimes twice if I'm lucky.

The chai at Breaking New Grounds (local coffee shop) is really the best there is. Trust me. Last night I sampled a chai from a coffee shop in Ogunquit and was sadly disappointed. The thing that really makes the chai at BNG so good is the delicate balance between the creamy milk (usually soy for me) and the dark spicy tea. Served over gently melting ice cubes it quenches a thirst that resides deep down where my love of coffee used to live.

I quit coffee back around the time I first started this blog. It was a tough transition and since then I've always felt like something was missing from life. I didn't look forward to English Breakfast or Earl Grey the way I used to spring out of bed for Rainforest Nut. I feel something changing though in my addictive personality. I've embarked upon a new phase, there's a new muse to be courted. She treats me better than coffee ever did, preserving the integrity of my bowels and gently nudging my energy level to alert though never wired.

Since my new lovely friend Chai entered my life, my pocketbook is straining. She's pricey at $5.00 (with tip) for a choy (my pet name for a soy chai). If I'm going to remain in this relationship, I've got to start making it myself. I bought some herbal chai from the Mustard Seed but it didn't do it for me. It's got to be black tea based for me. I think I might try to combine the herbal tea with some darjeeling when I get home. I'll chill her out for a while and spike her with a little soy. Cross your fingers ladies and gentlefolk, this could change my life.

Here's a recipe for chai if you want to try it out yourself:).

Masala Chai

1-1/2 cups water
1 inch stick of cinnamon
8 cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
2/3 cup milk
6 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
3 teaspoons any unperfumed loose black tea

Put 1-1/2 cups water in saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again. Throw in the tea leaves, cover, and turn ff the heat. After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately.

From Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, Barron's, New York, p. 196 (1983).


PS: I find it rather odd that the Blogger spell check recognizes 'cardamom' but not 'blog'.

1 comment:

*em* said...

silk makes soy chai in 1/2 gallon containers. i'm totally addicted.