Friends, I’m awkward. It’s ok, it’s something I’ve come to terms with. In fact, there are times I embrace it and play it up. But there are other times I feel like, MUST I BE THIS WAY?? Must I pretend to not see someone walking past me on the street because I’ve been ignoring his text messages (hey, side note. men of the world: seriously? SERIOUSLY? can you guys not try to start relationships via text? it would be much appreciated. you want to ask me out? ASK ME THE FUCK OUT [side side note: not now. i will say no]. do not. DO. NOT. send me a text message on a friday or saturday night seeing what i’m “up to.” my god. excuse me, now i need to go readjust my pantyhose and get a new prescription for my glasses and buy orthopedic shoes. but honestly, KIDS THESE DAYS. ahem.) Must I get all red-faced every time I meet someone new? Must I say really strange things and then spend the next 10 minutes repeating in my head “why did I say that, what possessed me to say that?” therefore not contributing anything meaningful to the conversation because I’m too busy ruing my awkwardness?? Must I say “you too” when it doesn’t fit (food service person: here’s your basket of fries, enjoy! me: thanks! you too! OR ranger station employee: here’s a map, have a great hike! me: thanks! you too!)? MUST I?
The answer is yes. I must. It is just who I am. It’s strange and sometimes jarring but occasionally it’s funny and endearing (right??? RIGHT????). But you know what?–and, here it comes, the transition into this recipe–sometimes being awkward keeps things interesting. It really spices things up. SPICES. LIKE CHAI.
Hello, all hail my word-weaving skills. Let’s talk about the chai though. It was my sister’s idea to make some authentic chai, because the powdered stuff from Trader Joe’s, although lovely, was a tad too sweet for us and didn’t have enough KICK. So I went to her house this past weekend to do some paint-peeling/door-sanding and we cooked up this recipe, based on something I found in Moosewood but then ingeniously enhanced by our chai intuitions. Which were dead on, btw.
It seems like every time I go to my sister’s place, we make something delicious and I can barely stand to wait another day before I’m in my own kitch making it again. Such was the case with this chai. A mere day after having it at the sis’s, I’m in Rainbow Grocery searching out cardamom pods. I made my own version that night, but I grated the ginger instead of chopping it, which was a moronic idea, and so instead of a pleasant nip at the end of your sip, my version was a round-house kick to the mouth. WOOPS.
But I milked it down and it wasn’t so bad. And it still beats the store-bought stuff. And it’s easy and you can make a whole bunch and store it in your fridge and make it cup by cup–hot or cold. And it’s SPICY. Just like you and your life!
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates!
5 cups water
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger root (DON’T grate it like it did. remember? round-house kick?)
1 tsp cardamom seeds (i added seeds AND pods bc i’m craaayyy)
3 whole cinnamon sticks
3 or 4 whole cloves
3 or 4 whole peppercorns
4 tea bags to 4 tsps loose black tea, such as orange pekoe or darjeeling
4 cups milk (i used soymilk)
1/2 cup sugar (i used about 1/3 cup, i don’t like it too sweet)
In a large covered pot, bring the water, ginger root, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and tea to a boil. Reduce the heat, uncover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and return to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 5 more minutes. Strain and serve.
Store leftover chai in a sealed container in the fridge. Gently reheat the tea as necessary.