Author Notes: Chai is the generic word for tea in Hindi, a language spoken in northern India. Masala chai is tea cooked in milk and spices and is aromatic, a tad spicy and often rather filling. I have to say that I started becoming a real fan of masala chai since I discovered this version while on a trip to Jaisalmer, a gorgeous yellow sandstone city in the Indian desert. The home-stay hotel served this tea on every occasion. From the rather vague instructions that I got from the proprietress, I managed to come up with this winner. This masala chai manages to be light, while keeping the satisfying aroma and taste of masala chai.
In the USA, I noticed that chai is used to mean masala chai but be aware dear reader, there is a difference! Needless to say, the "chai" that you can buy is not even a shadow of the real thing. But you will find out soon when you have made this one. This recipe can be scaled up quite easily. —The Minimalist Indian
cups whole milk
teaspoons loose black tea (strong)
teaspoons sugar or to taste
green cardamom pods
black peppercorns (or less if you are afraid)
teaspoon grated ginger
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, mix the milk and water and set to heat on the stove.
- In a mortar and pestle, pound the cardamom and peppercorns until you get a coarse powder with pieces of husk in it.
- Add to the milk and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat.
- Add the tea and simmer until the whiteness of the milk is replaced by a light brown. Continue to simmer until the strength of the tea is to your taste.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and ginger. Strain into a pre-warmed teapot or into cups.