I had a homemade chai this week that blew me away. No cinnamon, no cloves, no allspice, although it could be modified if you prefer. And this was made without foamy milk:
Grate a 1″ x 2″ piece of ginger into a stainless steel pot with 3 cups of water. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
At the 10 minute mark add 8 crushed cardamon pods and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper.
When finished add 2 tsp. of black tea leaves and steep 5 minutes. Strain and serve. Makes about 2 cups.
Traditionally evaporated milk and Demerara (brown cane) sugar to taste are added. The evaporated milk adds a unique richness, but I generally use milk from a grass-fed cows (and have never seen this in evaporated form,) but you could use an organic half and half.
The recipe as it is warms the spleen, enhances digestion, quickens the blood and awakens the senses. It hydrates with about a loss of 5% from the caffeine. If you want to eliminate the sugar, either leave it out, use stevia to taste or add 2 Tbsp licorice chips or one crushed lo han guo fruit with the ginger.
Two months ago I made a chai tea redolent with cloves, but without milk or sugar. I put it in my water bottle to drink during the day, but it was pushed behind other bottles and I forgot about it. Two weeks later there was not one spec of mold floating in the liquid and a quick smell and taste of a few drops revealed no souring. I was curious and put it back. Two months after making it shows no growth of organisms or off taste or odor. Which got me thinking about the Spice Route.
In the ancient time, refrigeration was unavailable, especially in cities where cellars and ice were generally unavailable. Spices were important not only for food preservation, but to fortify the digestion and to cure food poisoning. In Europe where there was little tradition of fermenting meat, spices or smoking (often with spices or aromatic wood) were the primary way of dealing with meat that might not be fresh. Cloves were one of the most important. Continue reading Cloves for Preservation and to Lift the Spirit→