Growing up North Indian, one grew up with Chai. It is the beverage of choice to perk you up. A little like coffee is in the west except drinking chai is a highly social event in addition to, of course, providing the requisite caffeine intake. Chai, for those of you who are not familiar is a concoction made with loose tea leaves boiled with water, milk and sugar and strained. Starbucks has something called the Chai Tea Latte. Since Chai, in many Indian languages is the word for Tea, the Starbucks drink translates to Tea Tea Latte and has always been a bit of a headscratcher for me as I have sipped my Coffee Coffee Latte.
Anyway, my concept of Chai remained what it had been since childhood: water, milk, tea leaves and sugar, until I got married. My wife’s family from Gujarat and there are two things they know how to do right: Chai and Chat (Indian Style Junk Food). The Gujarati version of Chai has a secret ingredient. Chai Masala. This flavorful combination of cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, clove and black pepper completely transforms Chai into a work of art. Needless to say that in the past fifteen years the only type of Chai I have wanted is Gujarati style.
A few weekends back we were going to have some friends over for brunch and my wife decided to make a Coffee (or Chai) Cake. She decided to make a Chai Crumble Coffee Cake, so you can have your Chai with your Coffee, I suppose. The concept was intriguing and the cake turned out to be fabulous.
When I asked her for the recipe she said that she did a foodydoody and winged it a little bit. Anyway, the original recipe by Nicole Weston is here.
The winging happened around the Chai Masala. My wife used her super duper secret chai masala instead of using cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and all spice. I am told she used a little less than the quantities put together of these ingredients.
Great little recipe. Enjoy.