The holidays seem to bring out the craziness in everyone; long wish lists and long lines add up to short tempers and stress. That is why, for the past few years, I've avoided the malls and made special gifts for my close family and friends. For those who are not as close but to whom I'd still like to give a token of appreciation, I've been giving tea. You see, I blend my own chai and have become rather well known for it; certain friends far away now look forward to their packages of chai every year!
In the spirit of giving, I'd like to share my recipe with you. It's simple and delicious, and sure to warm the hearts of everyone around you. Check your local spice shop for ingredients.
- 4 oz Assam tea or similar black tea (loose leaf)
- 2 oz whole cloves
- 2 oz whole black peppercorns
- 2 oz cinnamon chips
- 2 oz green cardamom pods
- 1 oz ginger root
Place all ingredients into an air-tight container, close tightly, and shake to blend. It's best to let the tea sit for a few days (a week is best) so the flavors can "marinate" nicely. Divide into clear plastic bags or air-tight gift tins to give away, but don't forget to keep some for yourself!
To prepare chai: Place two teaspoons of chai in tea ball, filter bag, or french press. Boil eight ounces of water and pour over tea. Steep for 3-5 minutes; remove tea. Add honey and milk and enjoy.