Every fall when the weather turns cooler and the days grow shorter. I get a craving for foods that accentuate the season. At Green Leaf Kitchen we spend a lot of time thinking about the social and emotional, as well as the healthful aspects of food. Many of our habits around food come from the emotional connections we make with the tastes, the rituals and the smells associated with food, good or bad. Creating happy rituals and associations around foods that are good for us is a lot of what we do. One such food ritual is making Chai. For me, nothing says the holidays as much as brewing chai tea from scratch. We tend to start this tea brewing early in the morning and keep it simmering on the stove for a whole day before jarring up what’s left for the week. Not only is it fun to come back and get a drink of warm chai every few hours, but the sumptuous smell of cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and cloves fills the house for days.
We are providing our recipe for Chai Tea, but this is one of those recipes that you can change up a lot, depending on how spicy or smooth you want the final chai.
7 Quarts Water
¼ Cup Rooibos Tea
1 TBS Black Peppercorn (more for more heat)
1 TBS Cloves (more for more bit and heat)
1 TBS Whole Mace
2 Crushed Whole Nutmeg Seeds
2 TBS Star Anise
2 TBS Crushed Whole Cardamom Seeds
3 Crushed Cinnamon Sticks
1 TBS Dried Orange Peel (we do this ourselves by removing the pith and setting in the oven on a cookie sheet to dry out in the oven after a meal has cooked)
Bring the water to boil in a large stainless stew pot. Add Rooibos and other spices. Simmer on the stove for an hour or an afternoon.