Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3 ~ The Signature Flavor ~ 12 Days of Homemade Chai

No need to push me into a corner and force me to say 'Uncle'. I'll admit it, I love my chai spices. This one especially. Cardamom has taught me the value of utilizing the whole spice. Not just pieces of it, but the whole kit 'n kaboodle.

Green cardamom is the fanciest type of all cardamoms. Picked while still immature and sun dried to preserve its bright green color—green cardamom retains aroma and flavor better than the other types of cardamom available—namely cardamom seed and ground cardamom.

In the thousand iterations of my chai recipe, I have tried them all. The ground cardamom leads to an extremely gritty bottom of the cup, which always seems to find its way into the top of the cup as I'm tilting it towards my mouth. Which makes me do this weird spitting thing that would make my six year old son very proud. I've decided that I don't like chewing on my chai. Therefore, this option has been left in the dust.

The cardamom seeds, on the other hand, are easily strained out when the brewing is complete, but they lack a certain essence in the big picture of the chai concentrate.

Therefore, I use the whole pod, crushing it with a mortar and pestle moments before it's added to the mix so that it releases all of its magnificent oils into my concentrate.

I've found this component of the chai spice mix to have a profound effect on the end result.

While it may be true that cardamom pods are the third most expensive spice in the world—behind saffron and vanilla—it does not take very many to infuse their magnificent flavor into my drink. For what these little pods offer, they are worth every penny.

A long time ago I worked in a large banquet hall as a server and we would host our fair share of Indian celebrations throughout the year. No matter the reason for the party, there was always an Indian dance performance that accompanied the evening's events. There were plenty of occasions when I would trip and nearly spill my entire tray all over the fine patrons I was serving thanks to my eyes becoming completely fixated on the dancers on stage. This video brings me back.

1 comment:

  1. This is brilliant, thank you! My past three rounds of making chai, I've lamented the gritty bottom of my cup from the ground cardamom. I was thinking of wrapping the ground cardamom in a cheese cloth and using it to infuse my chai during the preparation, but grinding the seed pods sounds like a much better option!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...