Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger...all infused in a rich black tea brew. Imagine yourself walking into a warm home with the wonderful smell of Chai in a cold winter day, breathe in the aroma and rewind!
Let me correct myself. The 'wonderful' smell of a “REAL CHAI”!
Sydney is full of “fake chai” – you know that stuff made from chai powder or syrup? It tastes more like spiced milk, where real chai is strong and potent with mesmerising heart-warming spices.
We often get calls from cafe managers and owners asking for chai. When we tell them that we don’t sell Chai powder or syrup (because those are poor substitutes for the real chai) they seem a little stunned.
“Huh? Chai is a tea?” some even ask!
To which we reply, "Yes, it is."
Chai, the Indian version of milk tea, consists of black tea leaves boiled for hours in a large pot with water. Typically spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and ginger are added and then “cooked” some more.
Towards the end a thick milk such as goats milk is added, which is typically about one third to half of the entire brew; enough to create a wonderfully rich toffee colour. And then sweetened with sugar to your hearts pleasure! Traditionally the sugar is loaded on. This because in India, chai is their energy drink that keeps them going all day and balances out the heavy bitterness of long boiled tea leaves.
Ok, I so admit it, it's ADDICTIVE!
Chai is loved by the yogi as much as by the thirsty travellers greeted beside the Indian train tracks by chaiwallas.
And your kitchen too would smell so nice with all these spices…
It is a tea not for a weak heart! Once you have tried this way of making chai, it is pretty hard to go back to your day to day version of chai.
But if you prefer the modern fancy version – the “Chai Latte”, here’s what you can do:
1) Brew tea leaves in warmed milk, or,
2) 1/3-1/2 cup strong chai tea + then top up with hot frothy milk.
Here are some recipes: