How to make chai in a chai-challenged office:
(i.e. with a mug and a microwave)
- Tea-bags (Black tea only, try Brooke Bond Red Label or Brooke Bond Taj Mahal available at your neighborhood Indian store. If you can't get those, try Twinings English Breakfast)
- Milk (Vitamin D is the best, you can make do with 1% or 2%.)
- Fill half your average coffee mug with water. (Yes, half.)
- Add two teaspoons of sugar (You can add more or less depending upon your nationality.)
- Add the tea-bag (The stapler pin hasn't sparked in my microwave. It could in yours. This is not my problem or responsibility.)
- Microwave on high for 45 seconds. The water will boil. The resultant brew will be very dark and very aromatic.
- Let the tea-bag steep for about 45 - 60 seconds more.
- Add enough milk to fill slightly less than three quarters the mug and stir. (Yes, three quarters. Only barbarians drink a mug full of tea. The only reason I even use a mug is because I don't have a tea-cup at work and mugs are easier to handle with my huge hands.) Update: Slightly less milk than that even. You'll know it's right when the taste of milk does not overpower the tea. I wish I could say what color, but browns are hard to do on the web.
- Microwave for 15 more seconds.
- Chai is ready. Be careful, it will be very very hot! (Serves one.)
Things to notice:
- Notice how I haven't added any extra spices to the chai. This is basic chai as served and enjoyed by millions (billions?) of Indians everyday.
- You could try adding some cardamom during brewing. Very little, very very little. What most Indians actually add are the skins of some shelled green cardamom pods. Of course, only wimps do this sort of thing. Real men only drink real chai, not some wimpy brew containing strange spices. You want strange spices, go eat some curry.
- As you drink it, notice how those taste buds wake up from the coma that your daily coffee has put them in. Notice how your nose remembers that it's alive and starts sending signals to your brain again.
- Drinking tea regularly will dramatically improve your sex life. (Why else would India and China, the largest tea consumers, also have the largest populations?)