I have a love for Chai Tea; a love like no other. In tamil it's called “paal tea” (‘paal’ means milk). What's not to love? the aroma, the warmth, the taste, it's a pure comfort beverage. Similarly to how people are hooked to coffee, I am to my Chai Tea - a love and addiction introduced by my mom. Also, I dislike like the taste of coffee, hence I don't drink any. If you ever invite me over, make me a huge mug of tea, and point me towards a corner of a couch to curl up against and I am one happy camper. But it can’t be just any tea, it needs to be made with hot milk that’s methodologically boiled. I hear fancy coffee makers such as the Keurig and Tassimo make frothy Chai Lattes (provided you purchase the machine and the cups) but I don’t have one of those at home. Hence, in this postI will share with you how to make Frothy Chai Latte from scratch using basic pots and ingredients without having to invest in an expensive machine and without having to spend $5 at Starbucks every time you crave a warm mug of this divine-ness.
And I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but my Chai Latte is pretty darn comparative to Starbucks’ Chai Latte - most of my friends will vouch for me. Better yet, follow the recipe and you be the judge :) Of all things I know how to make, a tall mug of chai is what most of my friends request as soon as they’re in through my doors at home. To my friend Kayann, my tea’s #1 fan, I hope you’ll continue to visit me, now that you'll know how to make it yourself ;)
Fun fact: Some of the world's best tea come from tea plantations in Sri Lanka; popularly known as 'Ceylon Tea' ('Ceylon' is Sri Lanka's former name when it was under colonialism). Back in 2001, during a vacation in Sri Lanka I was fortunate enough to get a tour of a tea factory, learn about tea grading and observe how tea leaves are picked in beautiful, scenic Nuwara Eliya - it was pretty neat!
..my in-house curious model wanted to see if anything being photographed was for him :)...and not to worry, he got his own pet friendly treat right after.
- 2% milk - 1 and 1/2 cups
- cardamom - 2
- clove - 1
- boiling water - 1 and 1/4 cup
- orange pekoe teabag - 1 (prefereably Tetley or any great quality)
- brown sugar - 3 teaspoons (or as desired)
Take 2 cardamoms and 1 clove, crush them (which will release it’s fragrance) and have it ready to drop in your milk.
Place a pot on medium-high heat and pour in 1 and a ½ cups of 2% milk. Drop the crushed cardamom and clove into the milk. About 3 minutes later, as the milk heats up, take a spoon and start stirring the milk. You need to stir the milk, since it’s going to help thicken the milk without burning and forming a film on top (in which case, the protein component goes to the film and your milk will taste watered down – not what you want). As you keep stirring, you will notice the milk boil, and then start to rise. As it rises, immediately remove the pot from the stove.
Drop 1 orange pekoe teabag (I love my Tetley and that's not paid product placement btw) into 1 and a 1/4 cup of boiling water. Let the teabag steep for 2 minutes, then remove teabag and pour the Tea into the milk. Filter the Chai Tea, add desired amount of sugar, stir (I like brown sugar, but if you're a diabetic, you can opt to stir in Splenda or even have it sugar-free). Pour the Chai Tea into another clean pot by starting low, while moving your hand up higher as you're pouring. The higher the splash, the more froth you'll get (you're basically manually doing what a milk frother will do for you). Pour the Chai Tea back and forth between two pots about 2 or 3 times using the high pouring motion, then finally into your mug (also using the same high pouring motion). Then find a comfy couch and savour your Chai Latte sip by sip :)
**There are many variations to Chai Tea, some even use a tiny stem of cinnamon, a bit of ginger, a star anise and even one or two black pepper seeds. I like the version I am sharing with you, I find it not to be over-powering, while still rich in taste. Also, I like my tea light – hence, why it looks like tinted milk but if you like it to be infused with more caffeine, then feel free to add another tea bag and make it darker.