With the weather finally getting into chillier zones, I've started thinking about warming foods- especially since yesterday I could not get rid of my cold hands until I finally wizened up and wrapped them around a big mug of tea. This got me thinking about my favorite teas.
I'm very partial to GenMai Cha which is a Japanese tea made of green tea leaves and roasted brown rice. I've heard it referenced as Popcorn Tea, because according to tea sellers, some of the rice is supposed to pop during the roasting process. However, the brand of GenMai Cha I buy contains popped millet seeds mixed in with with the toasted brown rice and green tea leaves. I'm not sure if there are multiple variations, or if the addition of millet changes the name, but in any event, it's delicious. The tea is smooth, mellow and toasty, and actually works well with milk (stop cringing you tea purists!). I happen to like dairy in my tea- you can keep the lemon, thanks. I'm thinking about experimenting and making my own blend of GenMai Cha. I'll let you know how that works out.
This brings me to one of my other favorite tea drinks that I do make my own blend of. It's Chai! -of the Indian Subcontinental variety. The type of chai that I make is an almost-instant version compared to the traditional method which involves brewing a large amount of chai at once. With this method, you make a chai-spiced milk that you can add to your individual cup of tea so you can make just one or two cups at a time.
The spice blend is as follows:
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/8 t. ground black pepper - I usually use double this amount for myself cuz I like the heat :p
12 oz. of milk **See the note
Place the milk and spices into a very clean jar and let sit for 24 hours in the fridge for the flavors to develop. Use a few tablespoons of the spiced milk per cup with the tea and sweetener of your choice.
**For a more "traditional" flavor, use evaporated milk, however any sort of milk can be used here- nonfat, soy, regular milk, 2%, half n' half. Be aware of the age of your milk and if it's been sitting open for awhile. Bringing it to a boil to kill bacteria might be a good idea if it's not so fresh. Watch out for boil-overs. :P
This Chai blend makes me very happy. It can be dressed in so many ways..green tea and honey, irish breakfast tea and turbinado sugar, oolong tea and jaggery, white tea and evaporated cane juice..so many teas, so many sweeteners, so little time....
Anyway, enjoy this chai recipe and tell me what you think!