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Recipe ReDux: Chai Tea



I have to admit, I’m cheating a little bit with this month’s Recipe ReDux. You see, the theme is “Grab a Book & Cook” and we’re supposed to turn to page 42 (to celebrate 42 months of Recipe ReDux…and also the answer to the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything) (sorry, I had to) of our favorite cookbook and make that recipe. But given my current living situation, I don’t actually have any of my cookbooks with me. I put them all in storage for the year since I just couldn’t choose which one or two should come with me to my tiny little room. Instead, the only food-related book I brought with me was The Flavor Bible, which is more like an encyclopedia of ingredients than a cookbook.

So I turned to page 42 and found the “Anise, Star” entry. Now, I’ve never cooked with star anise, but I’ve always liked the look of them. My mind immediately went to mulled wine (which I’ve already posted) or mulled cider (which I just wasn’t in the mood for). In both cases, I imaged a beautiful little star pod floating on top of a steaming mug of something delicious. Eventually, this something delicious became Chai tea.








Apparently most recipes out there for Chai tea don’t have star anise in it, but I found a few that do, and decided that was a good enough reason to start playing around with it. I love Chai tea and I love Chai lattes, but always find that when I order those at a coffee shop, they’re far too sweet for my taste. I love the idea of a spiced tea with just a bit of milk and a hint of sweetness to round it out. So I threw together some cinnamon, cloves, pepper, smashed cardamom seeds, fresh ginger, cloves, and of course, star anise. I cooked the mixture until it was bubbling and fragrant, then steeped some Darjeeling tea bags in it. The resulting tea is spicy and warm. I love adding hazelnut milk to get a little bit of a nutty taste to the tea, but regular milk would work wonderfully here as well. I think I’ve found my new hot drink for the winter!






Chai Tea
Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
10 green cardamom pods, smashed
10 whole cloves
4 peppercorns
1 2 inch piece of ginger, sliced thinly
1 star anise pod
4 black tea bags (traditionally Darjeeling, but any black tea will work)
Milk and sugar to taste

Directions:

1. Combine everything except the tea, milk, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring up to a simmer. Leave on low heat for about 10 minutes, covered.

2. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Cover and steep for an additional 3-5 minutes.

3. Strain the tea into cups and add milk. If you want to keep the tea screaming hot, add the milk directly to the pot, heat the mixture up once more, then strain into mugs. Serve hot and add sugar or honey to taste.


Enjoy!

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