Rooibos chai
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île de païn anytime

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île de païn anytime


Rooibos chai

Recipe By Liezie Mulder
Photographs By Craig Fraser


2 cups milk
3 teaspoons white sugar
4 teaspoons loose rooibos tea
4 whole cardamom pods
6 peppercorns
6 slices of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick (5cm)

When we were in India we got hooked on chai, which you can buy on any street corner. Chai actually just means ‘tea’ – a spiced milk tea made with black tea, full cream milk, aromatic spices and sweetener, and it forms an integral part of everyday life in India. The spices vary from region to region and are different in every household, but the basic spices are ginger, cardamom, clove and pepper. This combination is very soothing and a warm cup of chai has a feel-good effect, which makes it impossible not to have a second cup! My favourite was a blend heavy on ginger and not too much sugar. I use loose organic rooibos tea as my base. Tea bags just don’t have the same result because they are more often than not filled with a powdery tea, and the result lacks intensity and flavour.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Bring the milk, sugar and tea to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Crush and roughly grind all the spices together using a mortar
    and pestle.
  3. Add the spices to the tea and cook at a rapid simmer, stirring every now and then, for about 5 minutes. The milk should turn a light brown colour and you can start smelling the sweet perfume of
    the spices.
  4. Strain the tea through a sieve into cups, leaving the spices behind.

Once you have tried this, you will most likely want more, so go ahead and make a bigger batch. You can always heat it up again or, even better, serve it chilled on a hot sunny day.

About the Author

Liezie Mulder is the co-owner and head chef of Knysna’s popular café and artisan bakery, île de païn. Liezie trained as a chef in the US, working under inspirational chefs in esteemed kitchens. It was here she met her life and business partner, master baker Markus Färbinger. Together, Liezie and Markus started île de païn on a wing and a prayer when they returned to Knysna in 2002. Local whispers soon spread about a small café on Thesen Islands offering the authentic coffee, croissants and sandwiches. île de païn has grown up and expanded, but stayed close to its roots. Liezie wrote her first recipe book “Café Food” in 2009 in a desire to share her passion for food and illustrate that marvelous dishes can be made at home by anyone.

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