NOTE: This is long overdue. A few friends have requested it. So, here goes.
There is definitely something to be said about bringing foods and recipes from all over the world and making them accessible to us. It is one of the positive effects of globalization. Giving these recipes and foods inane, nonsensical names to make them more acceptable is one of the downsides to globalization. Chai Tea Latte is one such name.
The humble Chai, is a tea based drink that any person from the Indian subcontinent will know about. Though coffee (Kaapi) is more commonly drunk in South India, Chai is the drink of choice for most of Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. You drink it to relax, when you socialize and as a pick-me-up. Chai literally means Tea but also refers to the drink made with Tea leaves, milk and sugar. Now, while I did grow up drinking Chai, it was only after I met my wife, whose family is from Gujarat, that I realized that Gujaratis (people from the state of Gujarat)take Chai to completely different level. Their version of Chai (or Cha) in addition to the usual tea leaves, milk and sugar, uses a blend of spices that takes this drink into a completely different realm. Once you have had Gujarati Chai, you are spoiled for life. There is no turning back.
So, it is my pleasure to give to you (drumroll), my wife’s Chai recipe.
INGREDIENTS (for 1 cup)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp loose tea leaves (Assam Tea available at most Indian Stores is best).
NOTE: You can also use two tea bags of Lipton or Tetley Tea if you can’t find anything else. It is definitely a sub-optimal option.
Sugar to taste (I use about 1 heaped tsp)
1/4 tsp Chai Masala (My wife uses her homemade, secret-recipe masala, but you can get Chai Masala at an Indian grocery store)
1/4 cup milk
1. Boil the water with the tea leaves, sugar and Chai Masala.
2. Bring to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the milk and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and let it boil/bubble for a couple of minutes. Strain and serve.
NOTE: The color of the Chai should be kind of like Cafe au Lait, so if it is too dark, add more milk. Play around with proportions to get to a taste you like.