It’s hot, it’s sweet, it’s spicy. and there is nothing like it on a hot summer day. It’s chai tea. And with today being spring day it’s a perfect drink to celebrate the fast approaching summer.
Originating in the Indian sub-continent Masala Chai (“spiced tea”) is made by brewing tea with a mixture of spices, sugar and milk. The result is a warming, spicy cup of tea that somehow seems appropriate on even the hottest of days.
Making chai is simple and quick. This is the way I usually make it but, because there is no fixed chai recipe, it’s just as good if you vary the spices, the quantities and how you prepare the spices.
Typically Chai is made with any number of spices, including cardamom, cinammon, peppercorns, cloves, star anise and ginger. These are usually crushed, but for a lighter flavoured tea don’t crush the spices before adding to the pot. Crushing the spices will give the tea more of a “kick”.
- 1 litre hot water
- 1 big teaspoon cardamom pods
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 or 2 whole star anise
- 2 regular teabags
- 1 cup milk
Bash the spices up in a pestle and mortar. Cardamom and star anise seed pods will remain which is fine. Put the spices into a pot over medium heat and toast the spices for a minute. They mustn’t burn but you’ll smell the fantastic aroma as they toast.
Add the litre of hot water to the spices. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then add the two teabags to the pot and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Finally, add the cup of milk and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Strain the larger pieces out of the tea and serve with sugar.