Chiyaa, as if you're in Kathmandu. The Nepalese (as well as some people in India where this brew is called chai) cook tea in the sense that they throw all ingredients into a soot-black pot and then let the whole mixture boil for a good while. I've seen Englishmen sitting in Nepalese lodges who would not touch the stuff because the water, imagine that!, had boiled. (A word for the benefit of our readers on the continent: these guys are strange… you wouldn't believe how some Englishmen like to run around during freezing-cold winter days (and nights!). I have two layers plus my thick leather jacket and still think it's effing cold… whereas this pale-skinned bloke hops around in his shorts, a thin shirt — and he hasn't even got the decency to shiver!)
Anyway, back to the recipe. This should give you about two litres of final product:
- eight teaspoons of black tea
- half a litre of milk
- one and a half litre of water
- loads of sugar (I use about 250 gr: this makes a rather sweetish tea; probably best to play around)
- four or five cloves and/or cardamom seeds
- freshly grated ginger, to taste (dried ginger is a weak substitute)
- freshly ground cinnamon, to taste
- a little freshly ground black pepper (yes, really)
(I use the equivalent of three teaspoons of fresh ginger, which does give the tea a certain tang, and perhaps a teaspoon of cinnamon. It is also possible to use more milk and less water, this makes (up to a point) for a richer brew.)
Throw all the bits and pieces into a big pot and heat until the mixture boils like a Gallic druid's magic potion. Let it boil for at least five minutes, even if your heart starts to bleed. Strain and serve immediately.
Incidentally, this sweet tea has nothing to do with the salty butter tea the Tibetans, Sherpas and other Nepalese tribes of Tibetan extraction drink. This is prepared by throwing scalding hot and strong tea (made from large black bricks of tea), lots of salt and (often rancid) butter into a specially-made long cylindrical vessel (which looks not unlike a miniature cannon). Then, with the help of an exactly fitting handle, the ingredients are mixed vigorously and with much huffing and puffing for a good few minutes. Most people would agree that Tibetan tea is an acquired taste — then again, so is Marmite:-). Well, as long as the butter isn't too old, it's actually a great drink.
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$updated from: Nepali Tea.htxt Sat 18 Jan 2014 13:14:24 thomasl (By Thomas Lauer)$