12 November 2010

Homemade Chai for Autumn

Two weeks ago my youngest sister came to visit me during her fall break from college and we cooked up a storm. She's always been an amazing baker, but now she's gotten more and more into cooking and is even one of the head cooks at her co-op (proud sister moment).

It's funny when siblings grow up. Like one minute they're stealing your toys, monopolizing your mom and pulling your hair and the next they're awesome people who you'd actually be friends with even if you didn't have to see them every Christmas.

You know, the kind of people you could walk through the Jardins de Luxembourg with in late autumn chatting about life, living abroad, college, pigeons, whatever and then go warm up with a cup of chai. Most especially my sister in the kind of person you can spend hours in a bookstore with. And that's often what we did. Our bookstore highlights:

1) In Shakespeare & Co, hearing a woman ask the salesperson to recommend her "something like The Little Prince or Moby Dick." (I was terribly curious and asked the salesperson later what he gave her. Answer: Of Mice and Men.)

2) Chatting in a second hand English book store with the owner, older than Methuselah, who had never heard of the Twilight series (hey, good for her) and whose recommendation to a woman who wanted "a romance with adventure, you know, an escapist book" was Gone With the Wind.

So next time you sit down with a good book like The Little Prince or Moby Dick (although personally I would not call that a good book) or Gone With the Wind, or something to your taste, make up some homemade chai to go with it. It's much better than store bought and making it has quickly become a relaxing afternoon ritual at my house. Sometimes I even serve it in the wedding china, which my three crazy and wonderful sisters gave to me and D.

Chai Masala

3 cups water
5 pods of cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
4 cloves
1 small piece of star anis
5 black peppercorns
1 sliver of fresh ginger, peeled
4 tsp tea (I use Margaret'Hope darjeeling from Bonthés et Accessoires)
1 cup whole milk
sweetener to taste (about 2 Tbsp sugar, for example)

Put the spices in a pot and mash a little to bruise them (crack the cardamom pods, etc). Add 3 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer 15 minutes. Add the tea and the milk and stir another 5mn on medium heat. Add the sweetener and stir until dissolved.

Strain and serve.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Mmmhhh, an delightful beverage!



Cicero Sings said...

Now this sounds like a GOOD chai recipe -- one to warm the innards on a cold day -- and we are getting a few of those now.

I looked at that first pic and thought, nice china -- there's a place for china!

Glad you had a lovely sisterly visit.

Camille said...

Would you believe I've never thought about making my own chai at home? Well, now I have. Thanks!

Julie said...

We're having our first snow tonight. A cup of this by the fire would be so nice!

Sounds like a wonderful visit with your sister!!!

Beautiful china!

Hopie said...

Rosa - Indeed! Have a good weekend!

Cicero - Thank you! I know, we didn't ask for wedding china because who does that anymore? But I was super excited to get it. It's the kind of thing that you don't NEED... except that everyone needs beauty in their lives ;-)

Camille - Yes I believe that because I only *just* tried it myself. Although I did have a friend in high school who had lived in India and had a kick ass chai recipe she made for us. I should ask her for it if she still remembers...

Julie - Mmm, chai in front of the fire in the first snow. That sounds idyllic. Can I come?

kitchenmorph said...

lovely post...like a nice reel of a good movie. i like the way you make simple things in life look so charming. it adds so much character to your blog and you...i should say the chai we make is incredibly stronger than that!

El Tuper said...

Just today, I was thinking how nice a cup of tea feels in a cold and rainy autumn evening!!!

Caroline said...

Hi Hopie! And thank you for becoming my blogging mentor! I've been really enjoying perusing your blog, not only to bookmark recipes like this homemade chai tea, your Butternut Squash-Chickpea soup and Honey Cake, but also to see Paris! I visited there a long time ago, but can't wait to go back, and reading about your experiences makes me that much more eager to plan a return trip! I'm looking forward to learning from you as I continue blogging!

Psychgrad said...

Sounds like a nice visit with your sister. Beautiful pictures! Love the tea set. I wouldn't mind trying to make my own tea.

Hopie said...

Kitchenmorph - Why thank you and I'd love to try your chai recipe if you care to share!

El Tuper - Indeed, one of life's small pleasures ;-)

Caroline - My pleasure! I'm glad to be able to mentor you!

Psychgrad - Thanks. Yeah, making your own tea feels very ritualistic somehow - I guess often making something from scratch does, like you're connecting to the past.

David said...

Okay, sorry that I am late to this particular party but....Le Petit Prince + Mody Dick = Of MIce and Men. Hmmm, let's see. The first involves a planet-hopping prince who draws elephants and thinks his rose is the only one in the universe. The second involves an ocean-hopping captain in pursuit of a giant whale, punctuated with long, painstakingly detailed on things like how to extract lamp oil from the skull of a sperm whale. Naturally, another book like these two is ..... the story of a relationship between a lonely farmhand and his mentally challenged friend during the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression??? I give up, is Lenny the rose or the whale? Of course, they are so similar, who can really tell?

kitchenmorph said...

i will defo tell you my chai recipe but be my follower first!! :)

Hopie said...

Dad - Yeah, I'm surprised the woman didn't think of Of Mice and Men herself. It was the obvious choice ;-) Lenny's the rose I think. You can tell when he sings. It's pretty much the same.

Kitchenmorph - I DO follow your blog on my RSS reader, but not on blogger it's true. I don't follow anyone on blogger yet.

kitchenmorph said...

whereever you are, hope you're good.
i've kept my promise.
chk out my latest post!