Whether I answered “yes” or “no, thank you” I was given chai (or tea) in India. I was lucky enough to travel with a close friend and the whole time we stayed with and visited family. Like in most cultures, Indians receive their guests with food. As long as your plate or cup was empty there was an endless stream of food and tea, and being full didn't seem to be a good reason to not be served more.
Growing up in a Chinese household, milk and sugar in tea was unheard of. But after my trip to India, I was hooked on chai, which is a beautiful sweet and aromatic black tea that is steeped in milk and spices like cardamom and cinnamon. This is so simple to make and the spices are available in any large supermarket. If you're not a milk/sugar-in-my-tea kinda person, try this. I guarantee you'll love it.
Makes 4-6 cups
This tea can be made in many different ways with more or less spices. You can play around with the ingredients. Even just cardamom with the milk and tea would be beautiful!
- 1 cup of water
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 3 heaping spoonfuls of loose leaf black tea, such as Darjeeling (or 4 tea bags)
- 1 small inch thumb of ginger, peeled
- 7 green cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- a couple spoonfuls of sugar or however much you want
Lightly crush the cardamom pods so the seeds are exposed. Place the pods, ginger, cloves and cinnamon in a small pot and cover with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Boil for around 10 minutes, then add the milk and tea.
Keep on a low heat so that the milk is scalding (make sure it doesn't boil). Steep the tea for about 10 minutes. Add a couple spoonfuls of sugar. Pour through a strainer into cups and enjoy!