And chai is one of my favorite things in the world :) I used to backpack a lot, and always made chai for breakfast when out in the mountains, it made me peaceful and happy :D My backpacking buddy slept later than me, and he loved waking up to the smell of chai brewing over a fire.
Someone messaged me, asked me how I made my chai over a fire, he's a kayaker. He asked about brands etc. My reply to him was nicely written, so I'm posting it for anyone else who is interested too.
I don't buy chai as a mix or in a bag. What I take backpacking is black tea bags, cardamon seeds, fennel seeds, dried ginger root, a bit of sugar, and powdered milk, that's the mix I like. Check the teas you like for their spice mix, and buy the spices as whole seeds if you can, they pack in better. The dried ginger root I buy fresh ginger at the store and dehydrate it. To pack in I put in a ziplock (hang on, to make this easier, I'll give you amounts, for me and my packing buddy, who also drinks it, a 6 cup pot over the fire each morning, for 4 days) 12 black tea bags (3 per pot full) in separate little twists of paper or foil about 1tsp cardamon seeds (see pic below,) 1 tsp fennel seeds, 4 pieces of ginger the size of a quarter each, enough sugar for your taste, and enough powdered milk for your taste. Takes up almost no space in your pack. Well worth it! We always carry our pot, you can do a modification in a pan or cup as needed, I cook, and tend to have our pans occupied, and we hated having not enough tea!
To make tea, I fill the pot with water, add 1/4 tsp cardamon, 1/4 tsp fennel, 1 chunk ginger, set it on the fire, not right in the hot zone, let it heat kind of slow (maybe 15 mins to boil) to let the spices steep, when it is just about to boil, take it off the fire, add 3 tea bags, set it to stay warm for about 3-5 mins, pour, add sugar and milk to taste. It's AWESOME on chilly mornings!!
Cardamon: Whole pods look like this, you do NOT want them. They are tasty, but expensive and overkill for tea.
The seeds in the pods are what you want, much cheaper, last for years, pack easily, you DO want these:
While I'm at it, whole fennel seeds look like this:
You can find all of these in bulk at healthy grocery stores, or cheap in jars at regular stores in the spices. A little jar lasts a long time.
Have an excellent day, and toast me with a cup of tea someplace beautiful one of these mornings! :D
It's the same idea I do when I make chai on the stove, long slow heat of the water so the spices have time to steep, quick tea steep, add sweetener or milk as desired. But over a fire, at dawn, in the mountains.... heavenly!!!
I've got so much of that stuff growing in the garden. I wish I could give you a care package -- fennel grows like a weed on my hillside. Ginger is almost as common as comfrey in my orchard. I've got cardamom growing out there and have no idea what to do with it (along with turmeric -- what do you do with that stuff?—it grows more easily than ginger).
I've got a kennel of fennel and an injure of ginger. But nobody to drink tea with.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
I'm envious! I keep my plants of those in the house for now until I have a greenhouse. Zone 6 with cold wind makes for dead tropicals.
Cardamom is good for a lot of things besides chai tea. It's traditional in lot of cultures including
Interestingly enough, one of the countries that consume the most cardamom is Sweden, where cardamom is employed to season everything from baked goods to hamburgers and meatloaves. It matches well with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in autumn-spiced recipes, and these spices are also included with cardamom in Indian spice mixtures, such as garam masala. Drinks from mulled wine to hot cider to eggnog will benefit from an unexpected hint of cardamom.
And it looks like the website I just got that off of is also where I snagged the picture of the pods :) all about cardamom I was looking at it. looking for the traditional bread made with cardamom, Scandinavian Cardamom Dough.
I like it in a lot of foods, to me it's a semi-sweet brown spice, and mixes with or replaces any others in that category.