Chai (rhymes with "pie") is the word for tea in many parts of the world. Masala chai, meaning "mixed-spice tea," originated in India, and is made with milk, black tea, and spices. It has become increasingly popular at coffee houses and is most often made from powders, syrups, and teabags.
Pre-made, however, can never compare to freshly brewed masala chai (also known as “chai tea”). Making it from scratch takes more time, but is infinitely more rewarding. This recipe is a bare bones, traditionally-based version of masala chai including cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and ginger. Once you have made it this way, feel free to experiment with blending the many other chai spices out there into your brew--there is no set recipe and versions vary from Indian household to household. Masala chai is a comforting and warming drink with one-third the caffeine as coffee and can assist in digestion--perfect for an after dinner/before bed beverage.
- Combine milk, water, and spices in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add sugar and tea leaves. Stir, and then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Strain into glasses or mugs and serve.