NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Food -

Masala chai, also known as chai tea or chai, makes a great gift when pack­aged in pretty con­tain­ers. Or place your home­made chai mix inside a zipped plas­tic bag and present it inside a vin­tage tea cup and saucer.

Chai tea is won­der­ful as a hot drink with milk or served black and chilled over ice in sum­mer. Try Ber­nadette Hogg’s aro­matic chai mix.

On a bak­ing tray place 24 split car­damom pods, a tea­spoon each of pink and black pep­per­corns, a cou­ple of ta­ble­spoons of fen­nel seeds, a tea­spoon each of whole cloves and co­rian­der seeds and 4 cin­na­mon sticks. Bake for 5 min­utes in a mod­er­ate oven. Cool then lightly crush the spices and toss with 1 cup black tea leaves and a few ta­ble­spoons of chopped crys­tallised gin­ger. Pack­age into bags with a note to in­fuse 1 ta­ble­spoon in half a cup of boil­ing wa­ter, top with hot milk and sweeten to taste with honey.

Ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent herbs and spices to taste. You could also add dried or­ange peel, dried cal­en­dula petals, star anise, dessi­cated co­conut, and or­ganic vanilla pow­der (avail­able from health food stores). And for the cho­co­late lovers, add in ca­cao nibs too.

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