My middle sister is the drink maker in our family, whether tea or coffee, or hot chocolate for that matter. Whenever I have a craving, she is always willing, and makes them as beautiful as they are delicious. Now that we don’t live together, or even close together, I have to try to live up to her creations. Usually I like to just throw in whatever I have on hand, but have come up with an actual Chai recipe. I prefer to use fresh or whole ingredients, but if you only have ground that works too!
- 2 cups water (plus a little extra)
- 3 heaping teaspoons of black tea (I use whatever loose black tea that is around, Darjeeling or Ceylon. My father always says you need to throw in an extra spoonful of tea for the pot.)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 10 cloves
- 5 cardamom pods, bruised (take a flat edge of a spoon and gently crush the pods to crack them open and reveal the seeds inside)
- 6 anise stars
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp honey (I don’t like mine too sweet, but the more honey you put in, the more it will taste like a coffee house’s. Put in up to 1/4 c honey.)
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp orange peel, grated
- 1 bay leaf
- tea kettle
- tea pot with tea cozy or tea towel
- whisk or immersion blender
- tea strainer
- Heat the water until it is just about to boil, or if using a tea kettle, until it just begins to whistle. You will want to boil more than 2 cups of water, so you will have enough to add to the tea.
- Add all the ingredients except the milk and honey to a tea pot with the hot water. I cover the tea pot with a tea cozy while it steeps, but if you don’t have one, just use any tea towel and wrap tightly around the pot to keep warm.
- While the tea is steeping, heat the milk on the stove slowly, making sure that it does not boil. When the milk is hot, and has begun to steam, remove from heat. With either a whisk or immersion blender, froth the milk until it has a decent foam.
- Divide the honey and the milk into two mugs, reserving a little of the foam. Once the tea has properly steeped (length will differ depending on the tea used; just make sure it is long enough to make it strong), strain the tea into the mugs and add the reserved foam. Make sure to put equal parts tea to milk.