The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

A website celebrating and enumerating Juneau, Alaska's food culture

Posts Tagged ‘caffeine

Mid-Winter’s Day Chai

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Winter Day Chai

Chai is one of those beautiful things that hippies have ruined. Store bought Chai is like putting a Phish sticker on a hybrid car, it adds insult to injury. I can’t afford a hybrid car, even though in theory it’s a great idea; even hearing the word “Phish” makes me want to ritually cut off a blonde dreadlock and destroy a Dijembe for the good of the global community.

Chai’s great but I’m not willing to order it at a coffee shop for several reasons. The first being I’d have to pay 5 dollars for some douchebag with a recently pierced nose and a new copy of the Art of War to make me a cup and call me, “Ma’am”.

Secondly, most premade chai that you can buy in stores and in cafés is really loaded with sugar. It’s nice to make things yourself and kinda have some idea of what the ingredients are and where they came from.

Traditionally, really great chai is made by steeping spices and tea for hours. I’ve had the chai of my dreams at my friend Grace Elliott’s house. Grace’s chai is the kind of drink that warms the belly and makes your whole body feel alive. It’s even better if you get to enjoy said of cup of chai while listening to some of Grace’s favorite blues tracks. Originally hailing from Chicago, “Sister Grace the Blues Goddess”, as she’s lovingly referred to locally, has extensive knowledge of the blues and had a public radio show for years.

This recipe takes minutes not hours, but serves as a fix for chai when you want a cup on the quick. I adapted it from this recipe from Gourmet, changing and adding a few things to suit my taste. My recipe isn’t very sweet, which is perfect if you want to serve it to guests, offering them additional sweetener of their choice.

Ingredients:
– 2 tablespoons of cardamom seeds
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 5-8 black or white peppercorns
– 1 piece of star anise
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 2 cups milk or your choice
– 1 Tablespoon of honey
– 2/3 pieces of fresh ginger, cut in 1 inch dice
– 2 cups water
– 5 teaspoons loose black tea

Instructions:
– Grind together cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, with mortar and pestle or coffee/spice grinder.
– Bring milk just to a simmer in a saucepan.
– Stir or whisk in honey, ground spice mixture, star anise, fresh ginger pieces, and 1/8 tsp salt.
– Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring often, 3 minutes to infuse milk with spices & sweetener.
– Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add loose leaf tea, and boil 1 minute.
– Pour tea through a fine-mesh sieve into hot milk mixture, throwing away tea leaves, and cooking over low heat 1 minute.
– Stir, and strain mixture before serving.

Serving suggestion:
– Make your own chai latté, by incorporating a stove top shot of espresso into your freshly brewed chai tea. The coupling of chai with espresso is delicious and sure to wake you up on a busy work day.


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Written by Patrice Helmar

January 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm