Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chai recipe

One of our favorite hot drinks around here is my Chai tea. According to Manisha, a friend from Bombay, "Chai" just means tea. So I'm using it in the more American form which means "sweet, creamy, spicy tea from India".

A pot of boiling Chai spices brings most of our family members into the kitchen. "Do I smell Chai cooking?" is the query most often heard or "how long until the Chai is ready?" It's ready when it's ready. Kind of like learning and development.

Soooo....thought some readers might need a creamy, spicy, good-to-your-toes, warming-the-soul kind of drink for this winter. Great for taking with you into meditation areas, for book reading or creating art, but we enjoy it most often clustered around the table with good conversation.

You will need (mind you, there are 6 people in our little family):

5 cups water
5 cups whole, organic milk (yes, organic is better in every way)
3 heaping tsp. whole Cardomon (green pods are best, use level tsp. if not using pods)
2 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. dried ginger
4-6 cinnamon sticks
4-6 whole allspice
2 Tbs. Loose black tea (optional, we don't always add this but some folks can't have chai without it)
1/2 cup raw sugar (adjust to taste, or allow each person to add their own sweetener)

Place water and all spices on hot stove in large sauce pan, bring to boil. Cover and  lower heat to gently simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat. Add the black tea if using and let sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Add the milk and sugar, then re-heat (do not boil).
Strain and serve with good humor, warmth and willingness to converse.

Enjoy! I can smell the spices now........
Oh, and now that you have the official recipe, you are expected to serve a pot when good friends come to visit. Yep, even if you live in the hot South.;)


linda bryk said...

Ren: Tonight Fiona and I tried your chai recipe -- it is awesome! We think this will become our wintertime drink. We vision coming in from the snow and drinking some chai. The cinnamon is soooo warming! We even were able to find the green cardamon.
Thanks for posting!
Linda and Fiona

Glenda said...

I always assumed chai had to include tea, and I have to limit how much tea I consume so I don't drink chai anymore. But this sounds really yummy and I like that the tea is optional. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

(from the Shine and Imag. Tribe lists)

Schuyler said...

Oh, I haven't made chai in ages. Drat, we moved away from the Bay tree. Thanks for the reminder.


Ren said...

I'm glad you're all enjoying's a ritual around here that is deeply embedded into family life.

There's a quote I love: "Tea is a cup of life" and another one by Thich Nhat Han "Drink your tea reverantly, as though it is the axis on which the earth turns"

WonderSoul said...

Thanks for the recipe Ren. We all love Chai and today is a perfect day for a new recipe.

elissajill said...

I'm so glad you posted this! I just read Gail's status and thought, "I need to message Ren for her recipe." And now I've got it! You're the best.

Anonymous said...

I've never made Chai! And this looks like the perfect recipe to change that.
Loading it into my phone.... ;)
Thanks, Ren!

Ren said...

I should add that I usually ise raw sugar for this recipe....a variety of sweeteners works well. And fresh ginger is often preferable to the dry, the dry is just convenient. I use about 4-5 slices of fresh if it is available.