Wednesday, after stopping at the hardware store, I popped by the only food truck in town which offers Mediterranean and Indian cooking on days other than at the Farmer's market.
There are other places which offer Mediterranean but his is the only place offering Indian.
While waiting for my Channa Masala (chickpeas in a spiced tomato sauce served over fresh rice), I had a nice chat with the owner. He assures me, it won't be long till he has a building and one of the things he wants to offer is real chai. Not the instant stuff and not the concentrate from boxes but the fresh made with loose black tea and spices.
It is recommended one should begin with a cheap, strong, tea like Liptons if you do not have an Indian market near by, otherwise check with someone at the store to get the proper tea. Create a mix of spices to use to flavor the chai such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper, and nutmeg. You can play around with the ratios of ingredients to find one that works for you. The good news is that you can use either powder or you can use broken bits to spice it.
Mix 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp sweetener, 1 tsp black tea, and 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of the spices and pour into a small pan. Place the pan on medium heat and stir so it does not burn. When it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and stir well. Turn the heat on again and bring to a boil again. Turn off and stir well again. Leave it to steep for a few minutes before straining the spices out, and serving in a cup.
The owner of the food truck stated they make it by making a good strong black tea by throwing the loose tea into the boiling water, throw in the spices and steep for a bit. Strain into a cup and then add the milk. He said they had that every single morning.
I usually enjoy my Chai at night after dinner as a way of relaxing. I admit, I stop by Starbucks to get one when I'm near Barnes and Nobel but they make it out of the boxed concentrate. I actually prefer mine made from scratch.
Let me know what you think. Do you have a favorite spice mix you'd like to share? Let me know.