Being Southern, you'd think I'd have sweet tea gushing through my veins. Yall.
Truth is, I can't stand the stuff.
So now you know.
I'm a plain tea girl. When a waiter asks, "Sweet or unsweetened?" I answer with a most definite, not-quite-a-growl "UN!" An "un" that says bring me sweet and I'll kick your ass, shugah.
I do drink tea--gallons of it. Barrels of it. Aside from morning and after-work coffee, iced tea is my drink of choice. I just choose to drink it un.
And I use a lot of teeth whitener.
When I'm sick, it's a different cup of tea. At the slightest hint of a sore throat, I switch to hot tea. Then the milk and sugar or honey come out.
I have very strict rules about these things.
But as they say, rules are meant to be broken. Even (or maybe especially) crazy ones I make up just because.
Madhur Jaffrey's Easy Masala Chai (Indian Spiced Tea) was a huge rule-breaker. Sugar, milk, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger. Black Pepper. Whoooo...gettin' wild up in here, yall!
At first I didn't think much of this tea. To be honest, I thought it was quite bland. Then I realized I had just eaten a square of 86% cacao dark chocolate (Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie). Anything will be bland after that.
The chai does have subtle flavors. Initially. Then the black pepper hits at the back of your throat. Not the best thing for a sore throat, but I liked that spicy pop much more than syrupy sweet tea. The sweetness here is just barely apparent.
I chilled the leftovers and had an iced glass the next day. Cold, the pepper was less prominent, but the other spices--like the cinnamon and cardamom--came forward. While hot may be traditional, I'm partial to chilled chai.
I Heart Cooking Clubs is having an Indian Tea Party this week. Stop in for tea time.
Easy Masla Chai
from At Home With Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes From India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka
3 cups water
1/16 tsp each (a pinch of each): ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground cardamom (or 4 whole pods), ground ginger, black pepper
3 black tea bags
2 cups whole milk
4 tsp granulated sugar, or more to taste
Add water to medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger, pepper and tea bags. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 10 minutes. Add milk and sugar. Raise heat to medium; bring to simmer. Pour through fine mesh strainer, discarding solids.
Makes 4 servings.