I call my self a seasoned tea-addict. These days there are so many flavored and herbal teas available on the market; some without having anything to do with the actual tea-leaves; that making a choice can be overwhelming for a tea-newbie. I have tried so many teas but my heart is stubbornly still stuck to the strong Indian Tea – Chai latte as some big coffee chains call it and referred to as masala tea else where.
I have fond memories of having cup of chai and reading the newspaper sitting alongside my dad who himself is a tea-lover. That was then but now read my news online and my mornings start with an instant coffee or juice. “Chai” still is my perfect Sunday indulgence.
If you cannot find Assam or Darjeeling tea in your grocery store, the Orange pekoe tea comes in as a close second.
I flavored my tea with some cardamom today. Although I also use ginger on some cold Canadian nights and if you have sore throat that hurts try adding (only) a few crushed peppercorns and you will feel warm with in and all over. If you can get yourself some holy basil leaves (tulsi) or a few drops holy basil oil available at natural food stores, your chai would beat chicken soup for relieving colds.
The trick is to let the water come to a running boil before you add anything. Patience is key :). Add sugar and cardamom let it boil for few more seconds. The base idea is that all the ingredients are fully ‘cooked’.
Add your Tea bag and let boil. The longer it boils the stronger and bitter your chai would be. Then add milk. The tea leaves continue to seep into the milk. I like my chai more milky and I let it simmer on medium heat for a minute or two.
I love to see the foam rise to the rim of the pan before I remove it from the heat and serve.
My perfect ” Chai ki pyaali” (cup of tea) with a few arrowroot cookies to go with it. I know it’s been a long post. You know what I think the Japanese got it right , making and serving of tea is a ceremony to be enjoyed and its good for us. 🙂