Friday, September 16, 2016

Chai Spice Recipe

Chai Spice Recipe - Cocoawind

Chai Spice - the magical mix of warm and aromatic spices that adds layers of flavor to my tea and a bunch of goodies that I make.

See: Chai Spice Glazed Muffins

Tea. A good cup of steaming hot tea. Okay, may be not steaming hot. I cannot drink or eat anything too hot or too cold. A good cup of tea just at the temperature of my liking has the power to make or break my day. Yup. True story right there. 

I have this unfading bond with my morning cuppa. And it has changed and evolved so much over the years. Tea was introduced very early on in my life. My parents are genuine tea enthusiasts. They would make a trip every fortnight to a particular shop in North Kolkata to get the best Darjeeling tea blend (of course, according to their means and taste). After each first taste, there would be at least a half hour long discussion criticizing/appreciating the new mix.

I fell in love with Darjeeling tea at my first sip at the very tender age of 10. Then there was no looking back. Baba & I would surreptitiously enjoy a cup of tea whenever my Ma would go out to run errands. She did not approve of me drinking tea at 10. Till date my Baba makes the best cup of Darjeeling. And he is my favorite tea-mate.

When I got married 13 years later - I was introduced to this whole new world of tea - CTC - Cut, Tear & Curl - a method of processing tea. That is when I made the transition from orthodox. It was a gradual transition and took me a while to appreciate it, but once the cook made it with ginger and voila - I had found my new favorite.
That is also when I got hooked to the 'bhar er cha' - steaming cups of strongly brewed tea sold in adorable little earthen pots at street-side tea shops.

Fast forward to now. I have an assortment of tea at my home, ranging from flavored green tea to Darjeeling tea (first or third flush) to Darjeeling CTC to flavored Assam tea to rose flavored tea to Yerba Mate tea.  Okay, the list is really long.

The first thing that I do when I step into the kitchen in the mornings is to put 2 cups of water (both cups are for me) to heat in the microwave. No.. no... do not frown on me... I have mastered the art of making perfect cups of strongly brewed milk tea in the microwave. Perfect each time. But to achieve that perfection, one has to have precision. It starts with the optimal amount of water in the tea cup. One teabag of Tetley Elaichi and little milk and some microwave time later, I have my morning feel-good concoction. When the husband makes it (he has almost mastered it) he adds a little grated ginger to it.

When I have company, I make tea in the good old-fashioned way - on the stove flavored with a copious amount of ginger and sometimes split cardamom pods. Sometimes I will add Chai Spice Mix to it.

When I get hit by a bout of nostalgia, I sit down with a cup of Darjeeling and watch 'Sonar Kella' - a Satyajit Ray movie for the nth time or read a book.

When my parents visit or when I visit them, we easily go through 5 or 6 cups of tea in a day. Always Darjeeling sourced from their favorite tea shop - sometimes with milk, sometimes without. Rarely the CTC variety but always without sugar. Till date, my Baba is my favorite tea companion - he is the one I know who enjoys tea as much as I do. 

I made this batch of Chai Spice to flavor my Chai Spiced Scones that will get featured on Serendipity & Spice next week. I have joined as a team member/contributor from this month.

And may be, I will make some Chai Spiced Tea Lattes too.

Chai Spice Recipe - Cocoawind

These are the 5 spices that I use now. I have another version too, using nutmeg and clove but I like this one more.

Ingredients: (Yield - about 2 tablespoons, can be doubled of tripled)

  • Ground Cinnamon - 2 tsp
  • Ground Cardamom (green) - 1 & 1/2 tsp (I use my coffee grinder to gring green cardamom pods into fine powder)
  • Ground Allspice - 1 tsp (I always fish out allspice from my mulled apple spice mix - don't judge me)
  • Ground Ginger - 1 tsp
  • Black Pepper - 1/4 tsp, finely ground
Mix everything together. Store in an airtight container. I usually make a couple of tablespoons at a time. So there's not much left over. 

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