I was at a grocery store in Lombok, Indonesia the other day, and saw a bunch of spices in the deli section. Whole cinnamon bark, cloves, star anise, and black peppercorns seemed to be calling my name, and of course I thought, “mmm, chai tea!”, so a grand impulse buy ensued. It wasn’t until I was walking out of the store that in occurred to me that I am traveling, and don’t actually have a stove to boil tea on. Yup, definitely an impulse buy.
Thank goodness for my new friends here on Lombok, Eric and Jaz, founders and creators of an eco-development company called Lombok Eco. They invited me to bring my spices over and brew up my cauldron of tea in their kitchen, a lovely little makeshift room with not much more than a two burner gas stove and a knife. After procuring fresh turmeric and ginger from a neighboring woman’s garden, and a cook pot from the restaurant across the street, we were ready to make tea! Here is the recipe:
(I must note here, I did not actually measure the ingredients as I was making this, but just followed my sense of smell, taste, and intuition. These are approximations. Feel free to use the “pinch of this and a little more of that” measuring technique. You can always add more spice, or change proportions based on your preference. This recipe serves about 10)
2.5 liters of clean water
4 oz. Ginger ( about a 3 inch piece)
2 oz. Turmeric (2 or 3 small pieces of the fresh root)
4 oz. Cinnamon bark (two large sticks, broken into pieces)
2 tsp. Cloves
2 tsp. Black peppercorns
2 tsp. Star anise
1 tsp. Cardamom
2 cups coconut milk
honey or palm sugar to taste (I used almost a cup of honey, it was quite sweet, and delicious!)
Finely chop the ginger and turmeric. Bring water to a boil, and add all the spices. Simmer at least 20 minutes, the longer it simmers, the stronger it will be. Add coconut milk and simmer a bit longer. Stir in some love and some witchy incantations for health and well being. Turn off heat and stir in honey. (If you are using palm sugar, you can add it when you add the coconut milk. It’s best not to boil the honey, as it will break down all the beneficial enzymes)
To serve, pour tea through a strainer to strain out spices, and enjoy!
Thank you Eric and Jaz, for the coconut milk and honey, the kitchen, and the enthusiasm!