I recently had a pot of chai at a cafe in Byron Bay. It was so delicious that it inspired me to start making spiced tea from scratch again.
I first had this kind of tea in India many years ago and it was fascinating to watch the process of boiling all the ingredients together including the milk and then pouring it from a great height into the cup to add a little froth to the milk. This Indian tea was very sweet. I have never been a regular user of sugar or any other sweetener in tea so it tasted too sweet for me, but the spicy flavours were very enticing. Herewith is the basics of my chai. And this is just the basics as each time I make chai it is slightly different depending on what is in the pantry and what spices I might be craving.
- 3-4 whole cloves
- 2-3 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons of black tea (I used Jasmine tea)
- Nutmeg, a small quantity freshly grated, otherwise a sprinkle
- Honey to taste (if you really must have some sweetness – I occasionally add 1/2 tsp of honey to my cup)
- 2 cups of water
- Milk (enough for two cups of tea)
In a small saucepan, or flameproof kettle/teapot, place the water, tea and spices. Bring to the boil and simmer for a bit. The longer the stronger the flavour.
Heat the milk in a mug in the microwave oven for 30 seconds and use a small whisk (the little ones used for salad dressings) to add a bit of froth to it. Or, if you are very dexterous pour the milk from one mug to another a few times to froth it instead. Use heated mugs, especially in cold weather so that the milk doesn’t cool too much. Share the milk across two mugs and then strain the tea into the mugs. Stir in honey if needed.