Basically, chai (also called masala) is black tea brewed with spices and milk. Each ingredient you add changes the flavor in a subtle way. Ask two dozen Indians for the best recipe and you will get three dozen answers. I’ll give you my favorite, then at the end I’ll add alternative ingredients you can toss in at your discretion.
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp anise seed
6 green cardamom pods, crushed
1/4″ ginger root, sliced thin
1/4 tsp black pepper corns, coarsly cracked
Put 1-1/2 cups of water in saucepan. Add the spices and bring to a boil.
Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add:
6 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
1 cup milk
Bring the mixture back to a simmer. Add 2 Tbsp of Darjeeling tea. Cover and turn ff the heat.
After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups. Serve immediately.
You might also want to try any of these common additions (but probably not everything all at once!):
2 bay leaves
1/ tsp fennel
1 vanilla bean
Want to settle down with a good book while you sip your Chai Tea? I would suggest The Hope of Shridula, or book #1 of the series, The Faith of Ashish. 🙂
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
~ C.S. Lewis ~