The Challenge of Cha

There are many varying ways of making Martial Masala Cha or Chai (spiced milky tea made in the indian tradition). I have found that there seem to be only two ways in the world for expressing “tea”, either a variation of “té” (french, english, malayalam even,…) or “cha” (chinese, russian, mostly indian…). Tea is considered the cure-all, mend-all of brews in many cultures. It is especially excellent when taken in the quiet moments before and after wreaking martial havoc on one’s enemies. Is it the liquid itself or the time taken to enjoy such an elixir? Either way, I share with you my personal recipe. The thing with cha, as with battles strategies, is that no one concoction is ever made the same as another.

Recipe for one pot of Martial Masala Cha:

3 cups water drawn from a clear spring
1 cup milk fresh from your enemy’s village cow**
4 green cardamon pods, the life half crushed out of them
1 hard pinch of fennel seeds
a healthy bleeding sliver of fresh ginger with its skin removed (especially good when one’s defenses are down)
1/4 tsp freshly dessimated black pepper
1 1-inch freshly broken stick of cinnamon (give it an extra pound with a pestle if it gives you any trouble)
1 clove, its head crushed
1 miniscule pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch dried basil (to be added in with the tea leaves)
4 tsp loose black tea (or 4 tea bags)

Simmer together anywhere between 8-20 minutes all ingredients except basil at a low heat in a saucepan. When the milk forms a skin, lull it into a false sense of security by allowing it to rest for a few moments. Then unleash the troops of tea and basil. Infiltrate and let simmer for a maximum of a minute (you may also turn off the heat and cover the saucepan, trapping the mixture) and then remove from heat. Once the tea leaves relent and open up and expand in roughly 30-60 seconds, strain the liquid into a teapot, discard the strained mixture and serve the tea hot with or without sugar.

You may vary the above amounts and combinations to your own personal tastes. I usually only add cinnamon if I am having tea in the afternoon, and ginger and extra black pepper if I feel a cold coming on or have a particularily difficult upcoming duel. As I say, no two pots of cha are ever the same.

Enjoy. 🙂

** Need a vegan/lactose-free option? Substitute the blood/milk of almonds for cow’s milk. 🙂

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