Friday, 10 June 2011

CC Spicy Chai Tea

I remember my first taste of chai.  It was on a food co-op camp when I was a student.  It was in a ramshackle place in the country with a grassy yard.  My fellow students were mostly non-conformists who wanted to change the world; the type to wear chunky knits and fun hats, who would go to rallies, and eat tofu and sprouts.  Everyone sat around in the yard, playing guitars and drums, brushing each others hair and talking about life, the universe and everything.

In those days life seemed simple.  Black and white.  Good and bad.  Capitalists and lefties.  We didn't need to eat meat or dairy.  There were alternatives.  Large pots stewed on the stove.  One was full of soy chai.  I said I didn't like milk and someone suggested I try soy instead.  I had a sip of the soy chai.  It tasted just like milk to me.  Horrid!  I love spices.  Yet I've been shy of chai ever sense because it is so often milky.

The latest theme of the Cookbook Challenge is Cup.  I unashamedly was quite literal about interpreting it.  No lateral thinking with mousses or souffles in cups.  I rifled through my cookbook for a drink ideas.  I had to look hard.  Beverages are the sections of my cookbooks that I usually ignore in favour of baking and soups.  I am lazy about drinks.  Blogging has made me rethink my approach to liquids every now and again.

I love hot spicy drinks in winter.  Mulled wine, spiced mead, hot port.  Yes, boozy warm drinks are just the way to keep out the cold.  I also love herbal tea but have not drunk them much lately.  So when flicking through How it All Vegan, I was taken by a recipe for Spicy Chai Tea.  It was made by simmering spices, adding some peppermint tea (or orange pekoe but that is too much tannin for me) and then adding some sweetner and milk.  The ingredients were pantry staples.  I thought I would try the Chai without the milk.

I had to clean out a disused teapot that made me nostalgic for my early days of blogging.  It has a great wire mesh strainer in it.  It was a simple recipe and yet I didn't get it quite right.  When I poured the tea into the teapot, I spilled rather a lot.  Fortunately I did it on the sink so it was easy enough to clear up.  I still got 2 mugs of drink.  Spicy, warming, slightly sweet.  It needed a spoonful of honey but was lovely without the milk. See what my fellow cookbook challengees made here.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Chocolate custard crumble
This time two years ago: What does home mean to you?
This time three years ago: Split Pea Soup goes Asian
This time four years ago: Nubbly Bread and Hearty German Soup

Spicy Chai Tea
Adapted from How it All Vegan
serves 2-4

4 cups of water
1 tsp cardomom seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp cloves
1 heaped tsp of chunks of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon quill
2 peppermint teabags
honey or other sweetener to serve

Place water and spices in a medium saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Put teabags in and cover pot so they can steep for about 5-10 minutes.  Strain into teapot and serve hot in mugs.

On the Stereo:
Recollections: the very best of Rick Wakeman (1973-1979)


  1. Oh heavens, I'm so behind on the Cookbook Challenge that I'm considering giving up. I, too, was going to do a beverage for cup! I really like the look of this chai :)

  2. Oh peppermint tea...that does sound interesting. I love chai with no sweeter (honey on some occasions...) and I do equal amounts of milk and water. However, i can easily see how chai is super milky!

  3. After my tea musings recently, you can probably guess that I'm very taken with your interpretation of the Cup cookbook challenge! Thanks for sharing your Chai combination, it looks fantastic :)

  4. One of my colleagues makes a lovely chai tea... I'll have to work up the guts to try it myself sometime (as bagged is just gross!).

  5. I love chai... and I love that green tea pot!!!

  6. Hehe that opening scene sounds like one of Mr NQN's family gatherings! ;)

  7. Yummmmmm! I made chai tea a few years ago and gave it to friends as Christmas presents. It was such a hit and so easy to make! My favourite chai is at CERES in East Brunswick (Melbourne). Happy sipping :-)

  8. I'm a big time black tea tragic and don't drink coffee, ever. I love chai tea and your version without milk suits me perfectly! Love the green teapot, too. I'm a blue girl and have one just the same in blue.
    (And yes, I did make a typo with my URL - should check more carefully, shouldn't I?!)

  9. Love the picture of your mug and teapot. Chai, strangely, always reminds me of Australia which is where I first had it. CT and I were helping out at a community cafe at Bundagen. The main drink was a great big vat of steaming chai which i thought highly exotic at the time. Don't know why I don't make it more often

  10. I love chai tea - looks great!

  11. Thanks Hannah - am sure you can just miss a few and keep going with the challenge - always enjoy your entries - am sure you would love the chai - nice and relaxing

    Thanks Sharan - the recipe suggested adding some milk to this chai but I was not clear how much - but you could try that if you love milky

    Thanks Kari - your tea musings inspired me to get back into herbal tea - especially liquorice - am trying to get through my peppermint and will be looking out for some liquorice tea again soon

    Thanks the white plates - it is not hard to make but it takes a little more time to brew

    Thanks city hippy farm girl - yes I am glad to have the green teapot in action again - it has been too long

    Thanks Lorraine - would love to be a fly on the wall at one of those family gatherings

    Thanks Vegematarian - love the idea of chai tea as a gift - did you ever blog the combination - would be interested

    Thanks Amanda - those tea for two teapots are so cute and practical too aren't they - glad you got the url right - love to know who is visiting - and it is a great way to discover other blogs

    Thanks Choclette - sounds like you had an interesting time in Australia - I love the idea of a community vat of steaming chai but it is so often milky that I don't fancy it

    Thanks Simply life - I think I could grow to love it

  12. I love chai and don't mind milkiness at all! (I do tend to order soy ones more often these days.)

    And with all these warm, sweet and spicy drinks you've mentioned enjoying, I agree that the hot cider at Gasometer would be right up your alley. :-)

  13. I love your mug with the apples and pears on it! I've never made chai from scratch, yours sounds delicious. Though I'd have to add at least a touch of soy milk. :)


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