In this week’s At Home with Martin & Sylvia story, "Rainy Day Help", Martin and Sylvia are asked to leave their cozy couch to help Mr. Brown pick the last apples in his orchard before a hard frost arrives. While they are initially reluctant to head out into the chilly weather, over the course of the next few hours they are filled with the special warmth and strength that comes when helping a friend in need. At the end of the day they enjoy a warm apple pie as a delicious reward for their hard work.
Another treat that’s lovely after a chilly fall day outside is a warm cup of chai spiced milk.
“Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea”, so ordering a “chai tea” is technically redundant. Nonetheless, in America, the word “chai” is commonly associated with a blend of warm spices like cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. A “chai tea”, as we call it, is a blend of those spices in a milky tea.
While chai tea is nice, I’ve found that I enjoy chai spices steeped in warm milk almost more. If you’re sensitive to caffeine — or prefer not to have your children drink caffeinated drinks — it’s a great way to enjoy the warm Asian spices on their own. Not only that, but it will make your kitchen smell like pumpkin pie — oh so inviting after a time of cold work or play out of doors!
The following recipe is a wonderful starting place for making your own chai spiced milk, but feel free to modify it to suit your own tastes.
Chai Spiced Milk
2 cups milk
6 cardamon pods
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
2 slices ginger
1/2 of one nutmeg, grated
2 tsp vanilla
2 T Assam Tea (optional)
1 T honey (optional)
Measure 2 cups of milk into a saucepan. Gently crush the cardamon, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, and peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or with the back of a knife. Add those spices into the milk, along with the sliced ginger, grated nutmeg, and vanilla. Bring the milk to a gentle boil, stirring frequently, then let it simmer for about 5 more minutes. (If you want to add tea, measure in about 2 tablespoons, and let simmer for 2 more minutes.)
Remove the pan from the heat, and use a fine sieve to strain off the solids. Give the spiced milk a taste. If you’d like it a little sweeter, feel free to add a dollop of honey. Then, whisk the milk to make it just a little frothy, and grate a few more sprinkles of nutmeg on top.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.