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I don’t like coffee, and I don’t like tea per se. But give me a cup of sweet, spiced chai and I am happy as the proverbial pig. The caffeine makes me a bit light headed because I’m not used to it, but if I am out somewhere that looks like they might give good chai, then I give it a go (I’ve tried making it at home with bags but it is always crap, so now it is a treat when I’m out).
My favourite to date has to be that from Dishoom – sweet and milky and cardamonny (if it’s not a word, it should be); a chai all other chai’s aspire to.
When I got a tweet asking about sending me a press release, I was happy to receive it on the basis of the company name alone; I mean, how cool is Holy Lama?! Luckily the product caught my interest as well because it’s like nothing I’ve come across before and I can see it becoming an addition to my kitchen arsenal.
Spice Drops are concentrated extracts of spices which come in little bottles with dropper tops (like eye drops) and have a three year shelf life. Also they are made in a factory in Kerala, India, where 90% of the workforce are women and, to quote their website: “Most women are from disadvantaged background. In a traditionally male dominated society, employment in the factory gives the workers the much needed self-confidence and independence. Women of all ages, castes and religions are welcome here. Holy Lama Naturals is guided by the concept of Kudumbashree – “The enhancement of a less privileged family by empowering the women.” Which all sounds pretty good to me.
So back to my chai love. HL kindly sent me a sample of their tea masala spice mix- a teeny 5ml bottle crammed with nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, pepper, cinnamon and clove. You only have to take out the top to smell the pungent mix.
Rather than make a simple cuppa with it, and risk a dizzy caffeine spell, I decided to make a spiced hot chocolate drink. I used cocoa rather than hot chocolate as it is easier to adjust the sweetness but obviously feel free to use whatever you have.
The drink has a cheeky spiced undertone– I think any more spice and it would have overwhelmed the chocolate.
This makes one mug or three espresso cups- for once I actually think the small serving is just perfect as a pick me up. I only wish I had a pain au chocolate to enjoy this with as the buttery pastry would be a natural bed fellow for the morning after the night before. But I only have a Mini Magnum in the house and I don’t think that would have the same effect!
Makes 3 espresso cups or 1 mug
- 300 ml milk
- 1 ½ tsp cocoa (I use Green & Blacks)
- 2 drops Holy Lama Tea Masala spice mix
- Sugar to taste (I used 1 tsp)
What you do
- Heat your milk in a pan over a low flame or in the microwave (no idea about the latter as I don’t have one!) and bring to a gentle boil
- Put your cocoa in a jug, add a little of the milk and whisk until smooth
- Add the rest of your milk, the spice drop and sugar
- Pour into your cups and serve
Thanks to Holy Lama for letting me try this product. They’re only £3.99 a pop (except for vanilla), you can buy variety packs as well, and with such a good shelf life I can see a clearer spice cupboard (and more pain au chocolate) in my future!