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Today’s recipe is a previously mentioned gift from Farhan at happygrub. When she sent me a package of amazing goodies from Singapore, she wasn’t allowed to send the tin of cardamom milk that she had planned to include. However, it made the 10 000 km journey anyway, straight from the note Farhan tucked into the package into my idea bank. As soon as I read about this milk, I was intrigued, so I asked for more details. Farhan told me “masala tea is made by boiling cardamom pods which are crushed with the tea and milk, then strained before serving. The cardamom milk is just a shortcut and can be poured straight into the mug from the fridge. It’s nice. You should make a large batch and store it, have it with Indian tea and condensed milk. That’s how tea/coffee is drunk all over Asia. No one drank fresh milk in coffee or tea till Starbucks came.” (Hope it’s okay that I’m quoting you, Farhan!)
Today was particularly gloomy in Edmonton, without even a hint of sun from morning till night. Just varying shades of grey. Not to mention the abbreviated day–sunrise at 8 AM, sunset at 4:30… and it’s only getting shorter. If ever there was a day that needed spicing up, it was today. So I decided to make a batch of cardamom milk. I added it to Indian tea (straight out of my Singapore package, and brewed strong), and it was lovely. I made a big batch, just like Farhan recommended, so I’d have more on hand. When I was recipe planning, I thought a bit of sugar added to the milk would be a good idea, to help with preservation (does that make sense at all? I don’t know, but it tastes good!) The milk added to tea gave a hint of the exotic without being over-the-top complex, like chai is. It’s a perfect antidote to winter cold.
I didn’t have a recipe for this, so I winged it. Feel free to experiment with your own proportions. And let me know if you come up with something divine!
3 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
10-15 green cardamom pods*, slightly crushed
Combine all ingredients in a saucapan, and warm over medium-low heat until milk seems like it’s going to start boiling any second. Remove from heat and allow the cardamom to steep in the milk for 20 minutes. Strain cardamom seeds and pods out of milk and store your finished product in the fridge.
To use this milk with tea, I brewed strong tea and filled my cup 3/4 with tea, topping up the rest with cardamom milk. Next time I’ll try some condensed milk, although I found this mixture to be plenty sweet for me.
*if you’re looking for cardamom, try finding it in an Indian market, or the “ethnic” aisle of the supermarket (in Edmonton, Superstore has it cheap). Cardamom is WAY cheaper there than in specialty markets. By cheaper, I mean $5 compared to $13, at least in Edmonton.
Last week I got a package in the mail. It travelled a long way to get to us, all the way from Singapore. My friend Farhan, from the blog Happygrub, found a few things a little while ago that she thought I might like, and thought she’d send them off to me. How sweet and generous is that? She sent Balinese vanilla, a bag of mixed spice (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise… amazing! I can’t wait to try it in a curry.), some pretty mini muffin cups (they’ve already made an appearance here), and tea.
One kind I haven’t tried yet– “Taj Mahal” tea (which I assume is Indian-style, and Farhan advised me to serve with milk). The other I have tried, and immediately started rationing. Two tea bags in and I’m worrying about when I’ll run out! This tea is “teh Prendjak,” an Indonesian tea. It has a mild rose-y flavour and a warm aroma, and what I love is that it has no bitterness to it at all, unlike regular black teas.
One thing that didn’t make it into the package (Farhan said the post office said it wasn’t allowed) was a tin of cardamom milk. But the cardamom milk is still a gift, because the idea is one I’ve never encountered before. Farhan tells me it’s possible to make at home and that the tinned stuff is just a shortcut. So I’m going to give it a try this week, combined with strong tea and condensed milk, which is how she drinks it. Seriously. This is why we write this blog. Without this venue, I might never have heard of cardamom milk, and I certainly never would have met my friend from Singapore. I love the package, don’t get me wrong, but the ideas are just as much a treasure. That’s what I love about happygrub. Almost every post, Farhan mentions something I’ve never heard of before. I’ve got a whole library of things to discover thanks to her: prata, sugee cake, rempeyek, etc. etc. etc….
Thanks so much, happygrub! I can’t wait to send you a housewarming gift in return!