The other day my friend A was telling me about this amazing product called chai latte concentrate, which allows you to bring Starbucks pretty much into your home. But then the story turned sad because she told me about how she drank it all up in about two seconds flat and obviously couldn't buy any more in Dushanbe.
After educating myself on what's in a chai latte, I found this recipe from A Crafty Lass. This reminds me of the tea that my Indian friend Madhu used to make when we lived in Baku. In fact, it's really no different.
We made two double batches, one caffeinated and with honey (for the new mom) and one with decaf tea and no honey (for the older mom).
Here's A's pre-honey.
And, now, with the glob of honey. The honey is from Khujand, a city in the north of Tajikistan. I was told it was special mountain honey. It sure was special. The moment it started melting on the stove at least half a dozen wasps flew into the kitchen to see what all the fuss was about.
After a fair amount of running wildly around the kitchen with a fly swatter, the concentrate with the honey heated up and looked like this.
And here's my unleaded varietal.
While the two pots simmered, Little L managed to catch a bit of shut eye on the floor in the adjacent room. Don't you just want to eat her up?
After the spices simmered for a bit, we added our respective tea bags, and then continued simmering. Once all the simmering was done, we strained each pot.
And were left with liquid gold.
We then heated some milk and made ourselves a cuppa. We both agreed that we preferred more concentrate and less milk. In fact, when I went back to make my umpteenth cup of the day, I actually added another tea bag. Next time, I'll double the amount of tea bags.
To enjoy with our chai latte, I decided to make a batch of crumpets. A's off eggs because the baby is allergic to them and her partner is British. Crumpets fit the bill perfectly - a sort of cross between a pancake and an english muffin.
They are easy enough to make, but I strongly suggest you do not let the batter rise longer than the recommended hour. If you decide to do so, please do so at your own risk. The clean up was a bitch.
Like pancakes and english muffins, crumpets are dry cooked in a pre-heated pan. I don't have english muffin rings (or empty tuna cans, as one website suggested) but I did have these cute fluted molds.
I put the rings in the pan and then filled with the batter. Once the bubbles appeared on the top, I tried to gently disengage the crumpet from the cute mold, which was harder than one would think, despite generously greasing the rings. Next time I'll go for the tuna can method.
True crumpets are not flipped, but the top wasn't cooking through and I didn't want the bottoms to burn, so I flipped them as you would a pancake or an english muffin. This significantly reduces the nooks and crannies of the traditional crumpet.
I untraditionally cut the crumpets in half in order to access the nooks and crannies. I mean, what would a crumpet be with out a goodly portion of melting butter in those nooks and crannies?
After patiently waiting for all the parts to come together, we sat down and enjoyed our almost-proper tea and crumpets.