Bring it on, cold weather. I got chai latte.


There are people who don't enjoy cold weather, but I do.
Sure, at the end of Winter I become eager for Summer to arrive and vice-versa, but I got this feeling that when the weather is chilly and grey-ish outside, our houses (and ourselves) become cozier, more prone to share the space with others, to eat together.
For me, the prettiest days are sunny Winter days.
They remind me of the school breaks we had in July, which I always found to be more fun than the ones in December.
For some reason, I think it's more family-ish. Maybe because we end up spending more time inside the house.
I remember myself always with a book in my hands, curious about a story.
My mother with paint or pencils, one of my uncles building model aircrafts or something else that would require some engineering, my grandma busy caring for all of us and for whatever delicious food she had in the oven or stovetop, my brother after the household pets, so forth and so on. Each one minding a different business, but everyone close.

Chai is a kind of mixed spice tea, which comes form Indian culinary tradition. It's comforting and invigorating. It's very common to drink it with a splash of milk, some people even simmer the spices directly in the milk and don't use water.
People who avoid lactose could drink it plain, but I highly recommend adding a bit of vegetable milk in this case. I swear, it's a huge difference in flavor.
Add some rice, almond, coconut... milk.  
To the ones who have insomnia: black tea conteins caffeine. I'm not sure how much. But if I were to take a wild guess, I'd say it's as much as in regular coffee. It's something to keep in mind if you feel like drinking chai at night.
But the way, I'm looking for somewhere to buy loose black tea in São Paulo. If anyone has a tip, let me know in the comments.
I like to have chai at breakfast or with an afternoon snack, or when I get cold and need to warm up a little.

I took this recipe from Ashley English (a woman who lives in a farm or something like that, and knows many things about homespun and all-natural methods for cleaning, cooking, taking care of yourself and your home) at Design Sponge.
But in the blog Rota do chá, written by a lady named Hanny Guimarães, there is this very cute video teaching a recipe for chai too, and another post which tell a bit of the history of this beverage (in Portuguese).
The only ingredient that may be more difficult to find is cardamom, a spice very different from the flavors of Brazilian food (take a look at the picture, it's the green pods). 
If you don't find it in a farmers market or regular super market, I think it would not be too difficult to buy on internet.

My version turned out like this:
2 cups cold water
3 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 tiny pinch ground black pepper
2 or 3 chunks of cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons loose black tea
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons milk
(Cup measure: 240ml)

I slit open the cardamom pods and scraped out the seeds. With a mortar, I briefly crushed them, plus the cloves and cinnamon pieces.
I peeled about 2cm of ginger root and grated it.
Took those ingredients, plus the water and black pepper and let them boil, in a small pan.
As soon as the mixture started to boil I lowered the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
(Remember that aluminum pans are not recommended, for they modify food's flavor besides releasing aluminum particles that are harmful to our health).
Then I turned out the heat, added milk, honey and black tea, and let it sit for 5 more minutes,
after what I strained and served the chai. (By the way, did you notice in Hanny's video how pretty is her strainer?)

Serves one.

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