Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Authentic Chai

Every afternoon, precisely at 4:30, when the days chores were done, preparation for Afternoon Tea began. Aparna enjoys traditional Chai daily, and it was no exception while staying with us. She cheerfully prepared enough Chai to spoil Susanna and myself. What a rare treat to have tea prepared for me!
She would measure the water (2/3 c. per person) and pour that into a saucepan along with sugar (1 - 2 tsp. per person) and green Cardamon pods (1 - 2 pods per person) that had been lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle. For variety, she would also toss in a large pinch of dried lemon grass. This mixture was brought to a boil; at which point she would add the Assam tea, (1 tsp. per cup). Allow this to steep for about 3 minutes or so. As that was steeping, she would warm the whole milk (2 Tbsp. per person) in the microwave.

The warm milk would be added to the water/spice/tea mixture and returned to a boil. Simply strain the Chai, pour into individual mugs, relax and enjoy. This was a lovely afternoon ritual, a simple way to stop and reflect upon the day.
Aparna notes that the Cardamon and Lemon grass are enjoyed in Chai during the summer months, as they are 'cooling' spices/herbs. Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger and Pepper, along with Cardamon are typically added to Chai in the winter months, as they are 'warming' spices.
Although Aparna has returned home now, Susanna and I, on several occasions, have enjoyed Chai, precisely at 4:30. I must admit however, it simply doesn't taste as authentic as when Aparna prepared it.


Marilyn Miller said...

I love Chai and have heard there are many recipes for it. How special to have Aparna making it for you. A real treat!

parTea lady said...

What a treat to have Aparna make a traditional chai tea for you. I really like spiced tea and have tried several recipes from the book "Chai - The Spice Tea of India" by Diana Rosen.

lemonverbenalady said...

We used to have a movie theater that was owned by an Indian couple and they had Chai available. On a cold winter night watching a good movie and savoring a cup of Chai, it was the best!

comfrey cottages said...

that chai sounds sooo delicious! i never realized cardamon was a cooling spice/herb! that is good to know and i love the fact that makes it especially nice in the summer. what a wonderful time you must have had! hugs :)