The gorgeous produce at the Berkeley Farmer's Market inspires me to make veggie tarts, pesto, and big salads. In Bali, the market greens are lush, the fruit exotic, and the spices plentiful. Check out these meter-long cinnamon sticks and the pile of star anise at the Ubud Central Market....
Chai, made from an array of such flavors, seems a perfect celebration of the abundance of locally-grown Balinese spices. I have always been a fan of chai, but the Starbucksification of the drink has turned me off. Some buddies and I recently had the chance to cook with a very cool, smart, young Ayurvedic doctor and she taught us how to make Chai from scratch.
After Dr. Kekada's cooking class, I had a good excuse to buy all sorts of spices at the market. I have since made many pots of masala chai, played around with her recipe, and now am making a chai that P and I really love! My mom, a huge chai fan, comes to visit us this week and I cannot wait to make some for her.
While you might not find these spices at your local farmer's market, you should be able to easily get everything you need at the supermarket.
adapted from Amrta Siddhi cooking class
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed in mortar and pestle
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 pinches fresh grated nutmeg
- 6 pieces star anise
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- assam or darjeeling tea- 6 teaspoons of loose tea, or 6 tea bags
- sugar, as desired (I like to add a couple of tablespoons of coconut sugar into the spice mixture)
- optional for serving: cinnamon stick and star anise
When the liquid comes to a boil, add milk. Let everything return to a boil. Then add tea and simmer for 1 minute.
Pour your chai through a strainer into a clean bowl or a metal pitcher like the photo below. Then pour the chai back into a clean pot/bowl. Check out Dr. Kedada in the photo below: if you continue to pour the chai back and forth like this a few times, you will froth the milk a bit - thus the "latte." I found out that in India, this is the technique the chai vendors use. Clever.
Have fun playing around with the spices and flavor combinations until you get a chai that you love. Who needs to buy packaged chai after knowing how easy it really is to make yourself.
serves 4, or makes 2 big lattes