Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to Make Chai

Economists cannot survive on models and working papers alone, so here is a simple recipe that will help our studies because it is caffeinated.  Chai is a beverage that originated on the Indian subcontinent.  It is a hot spiced tea that is enjoyed as a delicious break any time of the day.  It is simple to make, if a bit more complicated than coffee.  One important thing to note is that there is some variety in spices for making chai, but this is one, somewhat standard way of making it.

This recipe is for two cups.  First grab a pot for boiling the water, tea and spices in.  Then add:

1.5 cups of water
8 cloves (optional)
1/2 stick of cinnamon (optional)
8 crushed cardamom pods
6 thin slices of ginger

Once it has boiled for a minute, turn the burner down and allow it to stop boiling for a moment while you add the tea.

3 heaping spoons of black tea (3 or 4 bags may substitute)
2-3 spoons of sugar (as sweet as you would like it)

Let it boil for about three minutes to allow the flavors to soak into the chai.  One good way to tell when they are done is that the tea will fall to the bottom of the pot.  Then add a cup of milk and allow it to boil for thirty seconds or a minute more to allow the flavors to fully mix with the milk.  Then place a strainer over a tea cup or mug, pour the chai into the cup and enjoy the chai!

As you probably noticed the cardamom, ginger, tea, sugar, and milk are the only truly universal ingredients.  Other spices such as cloves, cinnamon, anise, and others can be used.  Different sweeteners such as honey are also often substituted for the sugar.

Chai is probably the most popular beverage in India.  Many Indians drink it all day and all night.  The picture above is at a village in rural India, where I purchased a cup of chai.  Here is a video showing you how to do it, if my directions weren't clear enough.

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