Ever found yourself in a cafe line where the person in front of you orders a “chai tea latte” with extra this and extra that … and you cringe. Then you hear the attendant ask … “Is that with or without whipped cream?” … your stomach churns.
You long for that desi chai … taaza chai … asli chai. Accompanied by some crisp pakodas or other namkeen. Heaven. Here is our little twist. Chai with green chilli.
For 2 mugs tea
(one mug is about 1.5 cups)
Water 1.5 mug
Milk 0.5 mug
Fresh ginger – thumb size
Tea Masala (recipe below) – 3/4 tsp
Green chilli – 1/4 of a 2-inch chilli
Sugar – 2 tsp
Bring water to boil with the fresh ginger, tea masala, green chili and sugar (smash the ginger and chili before putting it in the water).
Add the tea leaves and turn off the stove within a minute (boiling tea releases tanins) and let it sit for few minutes.
Meanwhile microwave the milk for a minute to minute and half.
Add milk to tea. Strain into cup. Enjoy.
This recipe is very forgiving and of course dependent on individual preferences. So you can change the proportion of milk/water, or sugar, or tea masala…etc. However, add a little chilli and get an extra kick out of it for sure. It gives just a little hint of smokiness. If you are afraid at first, use only a very small piece of chilli.
(adapted from here.)
This is a flexible recipe. Adjust it to suit your taste.
Makes about 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
**we used seeds from 2 black cardamoms and about 15 green cardamoms
1/2 tea spoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ajwain (bishop’s weed)
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
small (1 inch) piece of cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
There is no need to roast the spices. Pound them in a mortar and pestle, or blend them to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
Crush the cinnamon stick into bits before adding it to the spice grinder.
TEA’S HEALTH BENEFITS
We drink tea because we like it. It has about half the caffeine of coffee, and is an invigorating drink.
We see an increasing number of dietary supplements in the market with green tea extracts touting their antioxidants properties. Elsewhere, we have read that tea wards off heart disease, cancer and obesity.
Nutrition Action‘s annual subscription fee is the best ten dollars we’ve spent. No, they did not bribe us to say this. They, and the not-for-profit parent organisation CSPI, deserve as much support and publicity as they can get for their tireless health-advocacy and for taking food companies and state agencies who lie to consumers to task and to court.
Here’s a summary of what Nutrition Action (March 2007 issue) had to say about tea’s health benefits (full text here).
Freshly brewed green and black teas have 10 to 100 times more antioxidants than cold bottled teas, that are more akin to diluted sugar water. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8-ounce cup of cold bottled green tea has 9 mg, and bottled black tea has 1 mg of the antioxidant EGCG.
Freshly brewed green tea has 196 milligrams per cup, oolong has 85 mg and black has 27 mg.
Some companies have asked the Food and Drug Administration for permission to claim on labels that green tea could lower the risk of heart disease. The FDA rejected the petition after finding insufficient evidence to back the claim.
So how does Celestial Seasonings go around making this claim?
Simple. Make it look like another government agency is endorsing your claim.
“Partner” with the renowned National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) on its “The Heart Truth” campaign. Put up your dollars, then proclaim publicly what the FDA would never let you say.
Issue a press release about how your “Partnership Highlights Benefits of Tea Consumption in Helping Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.”
In it, say that “drinking more tea can help promote heart health.” Then let the NHLBI post the release on its Web site.
Is NHLBI okay with this? Apparently. The agency’s communications director Terry Long says: consumers won’t assume that the company’s claims have been approved by the institute.
There have been a lot of claims in the past decade about tea’s cancer-fighting abilities. In studies on aninmals given carcinogens, researchers found that tea extrats reduce the number of tumours in the breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, skin, lung, esophagus and small intestine.
However, at the comparable concentrations of tea found in human tissues, it was found that people who drink five or more cups a day do not have a lower cancer risk.
The claim that tea helps weight loss. In the short term, EGCG plus caffeine does aid weight loss. In the long term, however, there is no consistent impact.
Coke and Nestle claimed that their drink Enviga had ‘negative calories’, and that it is a ‘calorie burner’. Center for Science in the Public Interest had their team of scientists review the claims made by Enviga and responded by saying the product is a “highly caffeinated and over-priced diet soda, and is exactly the kind of faddy, phony diet aid it claims not to be.” (More at SlashFood)
Masala Chai is as refreshing and fiesty as our dear Trupti, who is the hostess for this month’s Weekend Breakfast Blogging #12 at The Spice Who Loved Me.
This month’s theme is ‘Spice it Up’. The event is the brainchild of Nandita of Saffron Trail.