I’ll begin with something I dislike in food recipe posts. For reasons unknown to me, bloggers seem to make every effort to write 90% of the post about the origins or main consumers of the beverage or meal without telling you how it is made or which ingredients you need! the guide itself is almost an afterthought. Not on Cedric Suggests! I shall keep inane and irrelevant descriptions to one paragraph. Karak Chai is made with black loose tea leaves, crushed cardamom, saffron and sugar and evaporated milk. It is possible to use cardamon flavoured evaporated milk but I do not believe such a luxury to be available in the Tesco Metro near me.
Its origins lie in South Asia, and though this flavourful and milky tea is part of the Qatari tradition today, it actually comes from Indian and Pakistani households were this Karak is a part of their everyday lives and is known mostly as ‘Masala Chai’, roughly translated as tea with spices, or ‘Karak Chai’, roughly translated as strong tea with the word ‘Chai’ coming from the Chinese word for tea ‘Cha’.
It’s believed that when the workers came down to Qatar from India and Pakistan in the 1950s – 1960s to take part in building the country’s infrastructure around the time when oil had just been discovered, they found it hard to leave their love of this sweet milky tea behind and bought the recipe with them to Qatar to remind them of home. I Love Qatar
Ingredients – makes 2 cups of tea
2 cups water (475 ml)
3 teaspoons of loose leaf black tea (three teabags are also effective)
1.3 cups evaporated milk (300ml)
2 teaspoons of sugar (sweeteners also an option)
4-5 cardamon pods crushed
1 small piece of cinnamon
3-4 strands saffron (optional)
- Boil the water and pour it into a saucepan
- Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, and tea. I put these in my tea infuser to minimise mess.
- Bring it to boil, with the tea infuser, then once the water is boiled add milk and sugar.
- Let the mixture come to boil again
- Set a timer for 4 minutes. Once the mixture is boiling it will boil over so remove it from the heat when it does. Once it has calmed down put it back on the heat. Repeat this for the duration of the 4 minutes.
- Once you see the tea has a dark caramel colour, turn off the heat.
- Pour the tea into a mug and enjoy!
Apologies for the wretched weather in the above photograph. I was surprised at how sweet this recipe was so would advise using less sweet black loose leaf tea to begin with and evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. Then you can add the sugar to regulate it to your liking. Overall, this is a sterling winter beverage and I believe this one is superior to the one at Damascena!