The dictionary describes a “Connoisseur” as someone who has great deal of knowledge on a particular subject. In the world of Tea, I can never describe myself as a “Connoisseur” but I would describe myself as a “Lover.” And the reason I would say I am a lover of Tea and not an expert is because a lover is someone who would love despite all the imperfections all the failings and does not claim to know otherwise.
And if you follow my posts you will notice that the only character that frequently appears in my pictures is my humble cup of Tea and it is anything but perfect. Real tea lovers who claim to know its depth and flavour will never destroy it by mixing it with Milk. The milky chai that some of us Indians so love is something that the British got us addicted to, and I do not want to berate them on this. In fact, Tea was one of the most important legacies of British Raj, besides the queen’s English and Railways.
The Chinese and Dutch used tea as medicine for a very long time mixing it with a few things to cure headaches or cold however the taste of Tea eluded us Indians. It was the British and their love of this drink that finally made us fall in love with it too. The cup of Chai became a catalyst in breaking caste barriers and also became a reason for get-togethers, formal and informal chit chats for decades.
This Milky Chai is so ingrained in our Indianness that when you travel across the country all the small roadside vendors only sell this sickeningly sweet Tea. Very rarely will you find posh Tea, that a lot of us seem to fancy nowadays. It is an elixir, an energy booster because of the amount of Sugar that goes in it, providing instant energy.
And because I am still a very typical Indian by heart I take my chai strong and Milky. There is also a generous amount of fresh Ginger, Peppercorns, Cloves and Cardamoms that I add to enhance the taste (yes I think it is a good cup of tea). I do not claim to know where my Tea leaves have come from or consider myself a master of the subject. Like a smitten lover, I just love making it and then sit down and enjoy it to the fullest.
I like holding the cup of Chai in my between my fingers and rub it against my cheek letting the trivialities of the day dissolve away. After all life is not about perfection, it is about embracing the imperfections. Don’t you think? The recipe I am sharing is my version of Chai and how me and my husband like it. We also love to drink our Tea using big cups, no dainty cups for us. So the measurements as per the cup and our personal preference. Hope you enjoy it.
Indian Ginger Tea (Takes 20 minutes, serves 2)
1 full Coffee Cup Water (see the cup I used in the pictures)
A little less than 1 cup of full cream Milk (I like my tea milky, you can use a little less)
2 green Cardamoms
a small piece of Ginger (DO NOT USE GINGER OUT OF A BOTTLE)
Sugar as per taste (I use 3 tsp)
Black tea leaves as per taste (I use 2 tsp and use the Brooke Bond brand)
Crush the cloves, Peppercorns and Cardamoms in a pestle.
Gently crush the Ginger once, there is no need to grind it to a pulp.
Add the Water and Milk in a saucepan and heat on a medium flame, while this heats. Add everything except the Tea powder.
Bring the Milk & Water mixture to a boil till all the ingredients have blended in well. We want to taste all the goodness when we take the first sip.
Ad the tea leaves and mix well and boil till the Tea is dark and strong, the way you like it. Don’t boil too much as the tea will become bitter.
Pour in eager cups and enjoy with biscuits, toasts or anything else you love to dip in your Chai.
Knowledge source for Tea : Curry by Lizzie Collingham