This year I was keen to grow my own curry and I planted some ginger which was growing shoots and I felt it was a perfect opportunity to give a go. I had filled a container with some home made compost and planted the root with the shoot (eye bud) facing upwards, covered it with more compost and lightly watered it. It didn’t do much for months and I felt that nothing was going to happen. It is a slow growing plant and in July / August I noticed a shoot coming through which was very exciting.
Over the weekend my husband brought in a wonderful shoot and its rhizomes. The rhizomes are the ginger, they were small but perfectly formed. I washed them thoroughly and sliced off a section and it was juicy, fleshy with a mild flavour. It wasn’t fibrous like older ginger. Wow my own ginger. Free food and the best flavours what is there not to like.
- Native to South East Asia and the most varieties are grown in India
- Flavour notes – Lemony, woody, earthy and it has a kick of heat (not like chilli heat)
- Available fresh, dried, glace, pickled, preserved in syrup, juiced in soft and alcoholic drink
4pm and its chai time! I would be asked by my dad to go and make him a cup of tea. My mum would insist I should add some adoo (ginger) into the liquid as it helped soothe her sore throat during the winter months. I would gather the ingredients together and stand and wait for the liquid to boil.
On occasion it would spill over and cause a bit of mess over the cooker! In those days I didn’t have a mobile phone to distract me, it would be standing around waiting for the eruption to occur and I would just miss the tipping point! I did eventually learn to reduce the heat and allow the liquid to come to a gentle rolling boil and to place a spoon into the saucepan to add weight which seemed to stop it from boiling over.
Here is a recipe to share which has wonderful aromatics and memories of drinking chai with my family.
Binis Chai Tea with fresh ginger and turmeric
1/2 cup milk ( almond and coconut milk can be used)
1/2 cup water
2tsp loose leaf tea or 1 tea bag
2-3 slivers fresh ginger root washed and sliced
A large pinch turmeric (optional)
3-4tspn Sugar (optional)- (NB) traditionally its a sweet drink and sometimes contains condensed milk!
Spices for the chai masala
2-3 Green Cardamom pods
4-5 white or black Pepper corns
2cm Cinnamon Stick
1. Combine all the chai masala spices into a coffee grinder and grind into a powder.
2. Next, on a medium heat pour the water and milk into a saucepan, 1tsp chai masala, loose tea or tea bag, slivers of fresh ginger, turmeric and sugar (optional) and gently bring to a rolling boil. Stir now and again, be careful as the chai can easily bubble over if left alone.
3. The colour of the chai depends on the time you allow the rolling boil to continue. The traditional chai can boil to up to 5-8 minutes and form a skin on the surface. The darker the colour the stronger it becomes.
4. Strain the chai through a tea strainer into a mug or tea cup.
5. Serve with a savoury snack such as Gujarati Dokra, Samosa or a Rich tea biscuit (my dads favourite)