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.
3 cups water
5 pods of cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
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.