01 February, 2007


Down with a bit of a cold but soothing my throat and sending a bit of sweetness to my brain is wonderful chai, inspired by a recipe from the new book, Hope's Edge: The New Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and her daughter, Anna. They travelled around the world to find people developing their own solutions to the problems of putting food on the table for themselves and their families, including a visit to the Grameen Bank. A great book that helps fight that helpless feeling many of us have -- we know we want to do something but don't know what, and what's the use of fighting the big corporations choke hold on the money and food supply anyway? The book has lots of stories of people cooperating to help themselves. Inspiring!

From some of these people they collected recipes and this is the best chai I have ever tasted. Adapted from Indra and Sylvie's Chai, this recipe uses soy milk, but you could rice milk or regular milk. You can buy the spices in bulk from Indojin.com or your local store. The Flying Pig has bulk peppercorns. It uses loose black, not brown, tea available here often under the Twinings label. Irish Breakfast tea is delicious, and of course, tea from India. I use Vanilla Silk soy milk but think it would be fine with unflavoured tonyu from the store.

Nirvana Soy Chai

5 cups water
15 whole cloves
2o cardamom pods, crushed (Try the brown cardamom if you like it aromatic, and use 10. Or 20 green) I take a big knife and chop through the centre of the pods on a cutting board.
35 whole peppercorns
5 sticks cinnamon (in chunks if you get from Indojin)
16 slices fresh ginger ( just wash, no need to peel)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tablespoons whole black tea, loose
1/4 cup honey ( or substitute sugar)
3 cups soy milk

In a pot simmer the spices in the water for about 30 minutes until the water reduces to about 2 cups. Turn off the heat and add the black tea and steep for 3-5 minutes (or to taste --it gets strong quickly). Strain out the spices with a tea strainer as you pour the chai into a bowl or carafe. Return the strained tea to the pot and heat again gently, stirring in the honey and soy milk. This makes quite a lot, 5 to 6 cups, so you can halve it if you like. A little sip of Nirvana .


zlamushka said...

Hi there,

I have been scrolling dwon your blog and voilla! True Chai Recipe. I know it s summer, but here in Sweden, the weather is terrible... So me and my BF drink chai every day. We became fairly addicted. We buy the masala in the store, but it looks like it contains the same ingredients as yours here. So i ll try and see...

thanx a lot

vegetablej said...

Thanks zlamushka!

This is a yummy recipe collected by Frances and Anna Moore Lappe in India. I just adapted it by using soy milk. I love it, but you can vary it to your own taste by experimenting with the amounts of spices. Key is not to let the black tea sit in the soy milk mixture too
long or it gets strong and bitter.

It's hot, hot, hot here now, but I'm thinking some _iced_ chai may not be bad.

Hope you get a little sun this summer.:)

Christine said...

The spices look good, I'm definitely going to try it when I'm at my stove. Have you tried it with boiling the tea instead of steeping it normally? My mom's Indian friend always boils her black tea, and it gives a very nice distinct taste.