This Chai tea is a bit of work…but it is well worth the effort. The flavors are complex and amazing!
I love to cozy up in an arm chair with a good book and a cup of tea beside me. I’m always looking for new books to read. Do you have any suggestions? Please share them in the comments section below.
3 cups water
1 T fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp. ground cardamom OR 5-6 cardamom pods, crushed slightly
¼ cup sugar, plus more to suit individual tastes
1-1½ cups milk
1-2 T loose-leaf black tea, preferably an Indian brand like Brooke Bond or Red Label
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once it hits a rolling boil, toss in the ginger, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, fennel, & cardamom. Reduce heat to medium-high, keeping the water at a healthy boil. Allow the spices to infuse the water for 3-4 minutes before adding the sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Now add the tea. Indians traditionally make their chai quite strong, adding lots of milk to dial the intensity back down. If you prefer a milder version, stick to 1 or 1 ½ T. For the full effect, go with 2 T. Either way, crank the heat down to medium after adding the tea, or the pot will boil over.
Boil the tea-and-spice mixture for a full four minutes before turning the heat down again, this time to medium-low before adding the milk. For best results, heat the milk separately in a small saucepan or the microwave, just until foamy.
Add as much or as little milk as you like, depending on your preference. Warm everything through on low and don’t worry if a thin film forms on the surface of the chai—that’s actually a sign you did it right and are using good milk! Ladle the tea into cups or a teapot, passing through a strainer to remove the tea leaves and spices.
Serve each mug with a pinch of ground cardamom and/or ginger (optional), plus extra sugar on the side for those who prefer their tea more sweet.