Several years ago, when I was a traveling instructor, I complimented one of my students on the wonderful aroma of his morning chai. The next morning, he brought me a cup of it, and it was delightful! As we were wrapping up the class, he invited me along with a couple of the other students to his room where he taught us the basics of making his version of chai tea.
I've added a bit of cardamom to his original recipe, but the rest stands as he taught it to me.
(all measurements approximate)
- 1 c water
- 1½ tsp Indian tea (I use loose leaf Darjeeling)
- 1½ tsp sugar (I prefer Sugar in the Raw)
- 3-4 dashes black pepper
- ½ tsp (scant) freshly-ground ginger
- ¼ tsp cardamom
Boil the above until the color of the water turns dark (approx 2-3 minutes), then add:
- 1/2 c milk
Boil the mixture until it darkens slightly. Watch carefully, as you will need to remove the pot from heat several times (perhaps 6-10), as the milk will cause it to boil over if left too long on the heat.
That last step is where practice is required. Too little cooking with the milk, and it's milk-flavored. Too much, and it's scorched. It's also tough to get the right amount of fluids, since a good bit will boil off as you're working.
As the mixture is created with the tea leaves directly within the water, you'll need a strainer of some kind to clear them before enjoying the chai.
Thanks and credit to Dipak Soni, wherever you are now.