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Friday, December 16, 2005

Masala Chai

For the past month, I have been addicted to a beverage called chai. We were treated to Starbucks by my grandmother, and while drinking, I picked up those brochures they have at the condiments counter or whatever you call it. There was this brochure on tea, which made me happy. I read it and came across chai. I immediately craved for it. The following day, at Seattle's Best (I guess we were commercial coffee shop hopping), I decided to order their chai. I loved it. A few days later, I went to watch a movie with Ina at the Promenade, and I decided to try Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's chai. I loved it as well, but seeing how my pocket will not be able afford regular servings of chai from these commercial coffee shop chains (Seattle's was like 80 pesos and Coffee Bean's was 99 pesos), I decided to research on chai recipes.

Chai is actually an Indian word for "tea," so saying "chai tea" is like saying "pizza pie." Anyway, chai or masala chai is basically tea prepared Indian style. It's composed of black tea, milk, sugar and spices. I have been concoting the following recipe for a month now. I'm not claiming that this is an authentic chai recipe (I hear the real one requires only two spices at most), but I've become quite the addict.

Ingredients
black tea leaves (I prefer Oolong though...well, I don't really have much of a choice since Cherry's only sells oolong, jasmine and green tea leaves)
Spices: star anise, cloves, a chunk of dried ginger, cinnamon, whole black pepper
To taste: milk and sugar

I boil the tea leaves with the spices, and I add the milk and sugar later on, when I'm about to drink it. Some recipes say that you should add the sugar and the milk, and then boil it again. I didn't give any proportions to the ingredients since it really depends on how many cups you're making and how strong you want it to taste. I decide on the right amount by "feeling" it.

Remember: tea LEAVES, not tea BAGS

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