Cardamoms and ginger – Biscotti and Chai
Bright specks of green from the pistachios, chewy bits of candied ginger, heavenly aroma of cardamoms and the nutty taste of wheat – and no butter….. These biscotti go very well with coffee but if you want them Indian style, you must have them with chai.
Recipe for cardamom biscotti (makes 3-4 dozen):
- 270 gm whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 70 g shelled pistachio
- 70 g thinly sliced candied ginger (Trader Joe’s has an uncrystallized variety that is delicious)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
Beat the eggs and sugar together, add the remaining ingredients until a sticky dough forms. Refrigerate for 30 minutes as this will help shaping. Make into two logs and bake in a 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick. Bake further for 8-10 minutes without crowding. You may need to use more than one cookie sheet to accommodate all the biscotti. Let cool completely before storing.
Recipe for making cardamom Chai – Indian tea (makes 2 cups):
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 2 heaping tsp of CTC (crush-tear-curl) tea – Tajmahal is a good brand and is easily available in Indian stores, check expiry date, fresher is better. Store in airtight container.
- 2 green cardamoms – crushed
- 1/2 tsp thinly sliced fresh ginger
- 2 tsp sugar (white or turbinado)
- dash of milk (2% or full fat regular milk or lactaid OK but not soy or almond milk)
Heat water and crushed cardamoms in a heavy bottom container until it reaches a full boil. Reduce heat and add tea, ginger and sugar. Let boil gently for a minute. Add milk until desired color is reached (deep golden is preferred), boil gently for another minute. Strain and serve. Under-boiling makes a weak cup of tea and over-boiling increases the tannins to an unpleasant level. Chai is a robust drink made with CTC tea leaves not with Darjeeling or fancier varieties. Those require gentler treatment and another post
The only way this brew can be improved is by serving it in disposable earthenware bowls, sipped at little roadside shacks in small towns or train stops in India.