Food & Drink Magazine

Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla Or Not to Vanilla

By Shalinidigvijay @shalinidigvijay
I love Vanilla.I love spices in my chai.Sometimes I love both. Or not.Especially when it rains and when it's cold. And sometimes when it isn't.Mumbai is both.Cold and warm.When it rains, it can get nice and cool enough for a cup of spice laden masala chai.And when it doesn't, the sun can beat down your head demanding an icy cold beverage.Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla or not to VanillaSo we do both.Icy cold and spicy,with a hint of vanilla.And my secret for a robust drink- ice cubes of the same drink you serve.Takes a little prepping,but totally worth it in the end.Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla or not to VanillaNow remember,not sweet here, but you can sweeten the drink with condensed milk.Perfect for any tea or coffee.I got this idea from the Vietnamese Cold coffee,where they brew a strong coffee decoction and pour it over ice and add condensed milk.Have you tried that yet?No ,well we'll do it together.
Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla or not to VanillaIt's almost time for the Ganesh Utsav, the local neighbourhoods are bringing in the stuff to decorate and also bringing in Ganapati,with "Ganapati Bappa Moraya" resonating around.I can't wait for the Modak and the festivities. But what with the rains a little deficient,one hopes that the gods will be merciful and rain down some blessings in the form of rain too.But as of right now ,it's  time for a little spiced chai here in Amchi Mumbai.You can add the vanilla or not, that is up to you. It takes the chai to another level altogether.PS ,this is a cold brewed tea.For the Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla or not to Vanilla
You need
A handful of dry spices- green cardamomCinnamon stick,cloves,fennel seeds-saunf,peppercorns,star anise and a few slices of fresh ginger rootVanilla extract-essence is not good for this or a vanilla bean3-4 tsp black tea-regular chai leaves-I used Taj Mahal3-4 tbsp milk powder-to make evaporated milk3-4 tbsp condensed milk-optional
Place the spices in a clean pan and lightly roast over a low flame till you get enveloped in an awesome aroma.
Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla or not to VanillaOnce the spices are done, place them in a glass bottle or jug.If you are using a vanilla pod, add it now. But you should know that vanilla overpowers the other spices. A little goes a long way.Add the tea leaves and pour drinking water to make 1litre. Cover and set aside overnight in the fridge.The next day, strain your cold brew into a clean jug.Press the tea leaves and spices lightly with a ladle to take out maximum flavor. Discard the used tea leaves and spices.The vanilla extract must be added now, just a drop or two. Remember,you need a hint, not a typhoon of vanilla.So, a drop.I have never used a pod, so I add a drop of the vanilla extract. Sometimes I do sometimes I don't. Remember , change is always good.Since I make this often, I sometimes use the leftover tea brew to make ice cubes as regular ice cubes dilute the cold brew.When you are ready to drink, mix the milk powder in about 1/4 cup or less cold water and strain into a small milk jug. This is your evaporated milk.Place the ice cubes in the glass and pour over the cold brew tea.Pour over the evaporated milk and maybe a spoonful or two of the condensed milk.I never stir, just allow it to muddle and then percolate.Some milky, some sweet,some spicy some tea and an immense satisfaction of a wonderfully refreshing drink.This makes about four servings, and tastes best fresh.So make this a nightly ritual.There's something therapeutic in roasting spices.So when you have had your two glasses, make ice cubes and save in a zip pouch for future use.Afternoon sunshine filtering through the drapes , makes this tea even prettier to drink.
Ice Spice Chai -To Vanilla or not to Vanilla
Try the Ice Spice Chai and tell me what you think.
So what are you baking today???

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