Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't Forget the Biscuits: Ode to Chai

From: http://www.crazyfortea.com/howtomakechaitea.html

My first introduction to chai was through my now-husband-then-boyfriend. Given the fact that I've heard the comment "would you like a little coffee in your milk?" on more than one occasion  it's no surprise that I instantly fell in love with this wondrous drink: chai - otherwise known as "Indian tea".*  With it's high caffeine content a novice has to be careful of his/her consumption, but it's still my favorite drink. I just can't drink it as often as I would like.

Imagine my surprise, after having traditional every day chai (sometimes several times a day when my Indian in-laws visited), when I ordered my first Starbucks chai. Not. The. Same. Thing. It was like autumn had taken all her baking spices and threw up in my milk steeped tea. Which I suppose is fine if you are expecting it and haven't had it the normal way 100+ times, but not so much if you are used to it less spicy. Kind of funny when you stop and think that a US way of doing something is more spicy than the average Indian way. (Not to be confused with chai masala - which by definition is spicy tea.)

Let me point out - there are a TON of ways to make chai and in my experience even the same family can argue over whose is better  (naturally) - but it still isn't going to stop and make you wonder if there is pumpkin pie floating around in the saucepan. You still taste the TEA. That's kinda the main focus: tea and milk.

Let me also point out that you should never call it chai tea. It's a little on the redundant side. If you want to get technical, I believe that chai is the plant and tea is the product, but blah blah blah blah blah - yea just don't call it chai tea. Most people in the know will just tell you it's like saying "tea tea". There's a recipe floating around on pinterest that not only calls it chai tea, but also included powdered creamer in it's list of horrendous ingredients. I'd post a link, but the lady seems nice enough and people like her version. Who am I to go all internet cray-cray and be like "HOW DARE YOU!!!!" as if I've been drinking it since birth.

This post really was just an excuse for me to post an internet recipe for chai I like. So here is the basic recipe I follow. And no, I don't like this recipe simply because she agrees with a bunch of what I have written here. I like it because this is very similar to what we make here at home, and what we most encounter over in India. We usually add around 4-5 crushed cardamon pods for 2 large mugs of chai. Sometimes we use ginger and every ONCE IN AWHILE we use nutmeg INSTEAD. We also add our sugar later as to not boil too much off, but that's something new we are doing so we can add less sugar.

And don't forget the biscuits. Because my father-in-law would be disappointed with you and he is a very nice man. Definitely don't forget the biscuits.


*In certain parts of India when I ask for chai, I am served English tea. I'm fairly certain it's because I am caucasian  because it never happens to my husband, but I've learned to specify "Indian tea" when I want my beloved chai. 

** Disclosure: If you are going through IVF treatments, then you are supposed to limit your caffeine. That might be hard to do once you drink chai a few times, so don't say I didn't warn you. 

30 comments:

  1. I'll try making it sometime. Great to get educated about saying "chai" or tea, and I'll probably think of you next time I have a Starbucks Chai ;)

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    1. LOL. I would have probably loved Starbuck chai if I hadn't gotten so used to the other.

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  2. Thank you a lot! I'm missing chai a lot so this was very helpful :)

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  3. i hoping you get his coment as my laptop keeps going nuts on me....(sorry if you have more than one coment lol :) Love your Post! Love Indian Tea, its my feel good tea, my reminder of mom tea, gotta say my hubby makes it better than me though x

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    1. Got it! Comfort food/drink at it's finest. Has even topped hot Chocolate for me.

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  4. Hello from ICLW! Love this post, and I love that you gave us a link to the recipe. I work at an NGO that helps immigrants & refugees get settled in our province in Canada, and one of my co-workers is from India. I always used to tell her how I make great "naan bread" and she was like "girlfriend... you are saying bread bread" hahaha Also, I am addicted to yerba mate tea & I have been drinking it for 8 years... it was the hardest thing to give up for IVF#1 and literally the first thing I did when I got the BFN! love your blog so much I am going to follow you :)

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    1. LOL. That's funny about the naan bread. Will have to try the yerba mate tea once I am done with my IVF. Thanks!

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  5. Stopping by via ICLW and wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving & holiday season! :) I love Chai!! Thanks for sharing.
    Bree :)

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  6. Hi from ICLW. Never had Chai. I'm not really a coffee drinker but more a tea total type person.

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    1. Chai (served Indian way) is a lot different than most teas. Mainly because it is made with so much milk. At first it didn't sound good to me, but now it's my favorite.

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  7. Oh yum! I, too, love Chai, but can't say I've had traditional Chai that often. I will try your recipe though! Have you ever tried it with milk substitutes? We're doing a gluten/dairy free trial so I'm looking for alternatives. Maybe coconut milk? Slynn ICLW#44

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    1. I haven't, mainly because I've never heard of it made that way. There are English versions in stores that are made with just water, but it's not the same. Let me know what if you experiment with substitutes and how the results are. I'm curious to know!

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  8. Oooo!!! Chai! I've actually only had American, Starbucks style chai, but I really like it :). Good to know it has a lot of caffeine. I may have to try the recipe you posted, just to see what the real stuff tastes like.

    Happy Thanksgiving! ICLW #38

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  9. Oh man... I stopped by from ICLW tonight, and your blog made my day. I was born in Nepal (I'm a missionary kid), and I always joke that chai flows through my veins. :) Delish.

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  10. Sounds delicious! I will have to try! Thanks for posting :)

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  11. I generally just drink water. Maybe a cup of coffee. I've actually never had chai, but your post definitely makes it sound enticing. Not sure about making it from scratch, though. :)

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    1. It's not as hard as one would think. Maybe I should invent a coffee like machine for it. :-)

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  12. Hello from ICLW!!! I looooove chai tea. Mmmmmm would love to drink some now. We are newly pregnant after our second IVF attempt so I've got to limit myself. :/

    Happy Commenting!!!
    ICLW #17

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  13. I'm with Clarinda - I usually just drink water. But sometimes my friends order chai when we're out and it smells so good that I want to try it.

    Visiting from ICLW.

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    1. I really wish I had better water habits. I'm not terrible like a lot of my friends, but not as good as I should be.

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  14. Stopping by from ICLW! I've never had chai, although I do love me some tea. Usually I just make Irish Breakfast tea with milk and brown sugar. Sometimes i'll go for the Earl Grey but not as often. Being from the south I will also drink iced tea but I just get the lipton gallon sized bags for that. =D

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    1. LOL. I often joke that I must be the ONLY person in the south that does not like iced tea.

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