After all those latkes, I almost left without giving you a proper Christmas present. Though it's not for lack of trying. I spent a boozy evening trying to concoct a perfect hot toddy, full of ginger and brandy and just a hint of pear. You'll hear more about this if and when I actually get it right. But that hasn't happened yet--I ended up with cloyingly sweet concoction, a sticky counter, and a container of poached pears that are still knocking around my refrigerator. So rather than admit full defeat and leave you without a warm beverage to cozy up with on these cold nights, I turn to a cup of chai instead.
I printed another chai recipe about a year ago, one that I freestyled with a smattering of spices and a good long simmer. I still adore that version. But this Kashmiri chai--wow. It is my new best friend. It's got a surprisingly complex flavor from the sweet-yet-savory combination of saffron and cardamom, perking up a milk-brewed sweet tea. And as a bonus, it's ready in just a couple of minutes. Happy Holidays!
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp loose black tea (any standard orange pekoe tea works fine)
1 tsp ground whole cardamom pods (blitz them in a spice grinder until they're reduced to small bits--you can substitute a smaller amount of ground cardamom seeds, but the whole pods contribute a unique flavor)
1 small pinch saffron
4 tsp sugar
Place the milk, black tea, and ground cardamom pods in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. When it boils, add the saffron and sugar, and reduce the heat until it's just high enough to maintain a simmer. Simmer for a couple minutes, then strain into two glasses and enjoy.