My search for the authentic chai
Updated: Dec 14, 2018
Maybe you already know that I kicked my chocolate-every-day habit, but there is an unhealthy, delicious sweet habit that I am accustomed to every day now.
That is, until very recently I used to drink chai infrequently. I used to drink chai every once in while, especially since I found a great teabag made by the Tetly folks. I thought I had found the chai.
But I hadn't yet.
What is 'the chai', you ask? It is the real, authentic, home-made Somali chai. Anyone who has tasted it knows what I am talking about. And most Canadians like myself can't, despite many endearing attempts to relay the recipe, actually make it. Not the way we want.
Yes there is always something not quite like the original, no matter how you portion the cinnamon bark, cloves and cardamom pods into the water. Even if you remember to crush the cardamom pods and use only Red Rose teabags after the spice mix has boiled for a while, you may not be able to make your own chai unless you are a seasoned pro.
Years ago when my little family had to stay for a while in a duxi (apartment rented for the purpose of teaching Quran on weekends) I would wake in the morning to the sound of a large pot being put on the kitchen stove, followed by a quiet singing in Somali.
The dear lady made chai for the coming students. Before myself and my children got out of the way, we got a taste. I was never able to get quite that taste in my teacup again...until just a few weeks ago.
Chai Moments, a product that has newly come to my local grocery store, brings me right back to those early weekend mornings. It's an instant powder that has powdered milk and cardamom (although there are 2 other flavors) and I add a little sugar and cream when I make myself a cup.
Yes, it is possible to make chai, but using this shortcut brings the authentic taste like nothing else!