A Mom’s Favourite
Everyone has their version of the most ‘authentic’ way to make chai and many of us moms may have grown up with a ‘chai master’ at home but the key elements never change. Whether it’s to wake us up, refresh us on a hot afternoon or recharge us after a long day, the sweet creamy beverage is part of most South Asian households.
Authentic chai is simply black tea leaves brewed with water and milk. In India a variety of spices according to seasons are used to infuse the tea creating the popular ‘masala chai’. Licorice and cloves are used in the winter, where as mint and cardamom are more popular during the summer months.
The spices in masala chai are known to possess healing properties and have been used in Hindu Ayurvedic medicinal practices for thousands of years. It was actually the British’s addition of milk and sugar that finessed chai into the authentic masala chai we know today. Once only a household specialty, chai can now be found at most cafés, coffee houses and restaurants.
While chai is made during all four seasons, I thought it would be refreshing to try a colder version of chai for hot summer days. I started out with a basic chai recipe and added some of my favourite spices. I also substituted heavy cream for milk for a richer, creamier flavor.
The best part about these chai popsicles is that they are completely customizable! Make your grandmothers age old recipe or add your new favorite spice, the possibilities are endless.
Due to the caffeine in chai, these cold treats would be better suited for us moms (and dads) rather than our little ones. These chai pops be a wonderful pallet cleanser after a spicy meal or cooling treat on a hot summers day.
2 cups water
3-4 whole green cardamom pods, smashed
1/2 tablespoon crushed ginger
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon loose black tea leaves
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
In a small saucepan, combine the water, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat, add tea leaves and simmer for 3-4 minutes, brewing the tea. Add the heavy cream and sugar and simmer for another minute. Turn off the heat and let steep for 2-3 minutes. Pour into heat safe container through a fine mesh sieve.
Let cool for 15-20 minutes before distributing into popsicle molds. Freeze overnight & enjoy!