This recipe is for the lovely masala chai served in India. It is a warm, spiced beverage that is oh so comforting. Indian masala chai is a little different from what you get here at a coffee shop or from the grocery store- stronger, sometimes sweeter, and definitely smaller. If you’re looking for a warm, comforting beverage on these cold mornings, try this! Masala chai can be made with cow’s milk or non-dairy milk and the spices and caffeine can be tailored to fit your tastes. If you try non-dairy, opt for a milk with a decent fat content like coconut or say if you tolerate it. Almond has a tendency to separate and rice is a bit thin. Hemp works well but don’t boil it. If you don’t tolerate caffeine well, this can be made without the black tea, and it will still be a delicious drink.
Makes 4 regularly sized mugs
4 cups water
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp tea (look for Indian tea powder for an authentic taste. PG tips or another British brand will also work well)
2 tbsp coconut sugar or jaggery powder
1/2- 1 inch fresh ginger sliced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 cardamom pods (green!)
Optional: nutmeg, cloves, fennel, or even coriander powder.
Boil water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the spices and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. This step is key for a nice, spicy drink. Return the heat to medium and add milk. DO NOT WALK AWAY! As soon as the milk boils (or is close with non-dairy), reduce the heat to low, add the tea and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Simmer for 4-9 minutes (less time means lower caffeine and less astringency which is easier on the tummy).
Remove from heat and strain into smallish mugs. Enjoy!
Note that masala chai can be made anyway you like- change the tea, the sweetner, the spices, the amounts of anything. Try it out and see what works for you in this season.