One of my favorite memories is coming home to a nice cup of hot cha (as many Indians call it, but also famously known as Chai) and hanging out with my mom talking about our day. It didn’t matter if I was coming home from high school, college, or once I moved out, coming home for the weekend – cha was our time. Especially during the cold, snowy winters, that cup of chai just worked wonders.
Because cha is a special time for me and mother, I’m dedicating this recipe in her honor this Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day Ma!
The aroma of ginger and cinnamon clinging in the air as I walk in to the house with a cup of fresh, piping hot cha waiting for me (my mom would time it and have us call when we were a certain distance from the house so she can greet us with a fresh cup – she’s pretty amazing!).
I miss those days, especially as they are not as frequent now, but that first cup of cha in the morning always makes me think of my mother and all them memories of us bonding over a cup.
I don’t think I could function without it anymore. It’s my cup of caffeine in the morning, and my cup of indulgence and comfort in the afternoons. Over the years, I’ve also learned a lot about the flavorings of cha. During the summers, I like to have lots of mint to freshen up the taste. During the winters, especially on cold days, I must have ginger in it.
Recently, I discovered a wonderful spice blend that I am now addicted to. I happened to come across it when I went to one of my dear friend’s house and her husband made me one of the best cups of cha I’ve ever had. I didn’t see exactly what he put in it, but I got an idea based on the flavors I tasted (and what he told me he put in it). I love the spices in this recipe because I can alter it based on my mood – add a little extra clove and cinnamon if I want it more spicy or extra star anise and cinnamon if I want it on the sweeter side. Try it out and indulge in a cup of cha with me. Or better yet, make it for your mother this Mother’s Day with some Mango Berry Bread Pudding to give her a great start to her special day!
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy you cup of chai!
¾ c Water
½ c milk
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 2″ cinnamon stick
2 Tbsp ginger, grated
1 ½ tsp black tea leaves (2 black tea bags will do just fine)
1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush spices together. Add the spice mix and ginger to a pot with water and sugar. Boil for 3-4 minutes. You’ll smell the spices and the water will change to a beautiful golden red color.
2. Add in the tea leaves and boil for another 2-3 minutes.
3. Add milk and simmer for 5 minutes to get a dark caramel color.
4. Bring to a boil, turn stove off and filter through a sieve.
Enjoy you chai and may it bring you the warmth and comfort it brings me!