Saturday, December 5, 2015

Chai It, You'll Like it!

It's that time of year to create social interactions to distract us from the distinct lack of sunlight. If you'd like to entertain, but don't want to shell out a lot of money to do so, I suggest a simple gathering of your favorite people, featuring a big pot of chai as the star of the show. Snacks optional; you can ask always ask your guests to bring a little something. However, the most important thing is to be together, and the chai is satisfying enough that no one will leave disappointed (just make sure not to have the get-together during a big mealtime). Extra bonus: it makes your entire home smell really, really good.

This recipe makes 6 servings, and it is very easy to double or triple.

2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
2 sticks cinnamon 
3 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea (I used Benner tea from Aldi- less than 2 cents a bag!)
5 cups unsweetened milk of choice: almond, coconut, full-fat cow’s, etc. (I used almond milk from Aldi- $2.29 for a half-gallon!)
Stevia to taste (I used 60 drops of Stevita brand)

Combine first 3 ingredients in mortar. Using pestle, lightly crush or bruise spices. Alternatively, you could use a spice grinder for about 1 or 2 seconds. If you have no way to crush spices, don't worry; it will still work.

Add to ginger and cinnamon sticks with 3 cups water in a saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan, and simmer gently 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add milk. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat. Strain chai into teapot and serve immediately, or return it to the saucepan and keep on the burner at very low heat (use a heavy-bottomed pan for this). Add stevia and stir well, or leave plain for your guests to sweeten to their own liking. 

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