There is nothing quite as satisfying as a cup of delicately spiced, fragrant chai. Black tea is brewed with fresh ginger, mint leaves, and a mixture of aromatic masalas. Milk and sugar is added and brought to a boil.
Every household has their own version of chai masala, and this is my mother's very special recipe. The very thought of having chai with my mom brings back a flood of memories and emotions. Happy birthday, Mom. Thank you for teaching me to always find beauty in the world. I miss you dearly.
A few times a year, I blend a batch of my mom's masala and store it in a jar. In the winter, I am more generous with fresh ginger to add warmth to the chai. The rest of the year, I add a little extra fresh mint, along with the ginger, to add a refreshing component.
Anjali's Mom's chai masala
1 tbsp cardamon pods
5 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp cloves
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1.5 tsp dry ginger powder
Combine spices in blender. Blend until a fine powder. Store in a dry, airtight container in a cool, dry place.
1 cup water
3/4 cup milk (if you use skim milk, use 1/2 cup milk)
2 tsp loose black tea
1/4 inch ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/4 tsp of Anjali's Mom's Chai Masala (see above)
4-5 fresh mint leaves
2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water, ginger, and chai masala to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add tea leaves.
Add milk and 2 tsp sugar (or to taste). I like to first microwave the milk for a minute and then add the hot milk to the boiling tea (it speeds up the process). I don't add sugar to my coffee but I love sugar in my tea. I have a strong preference for adding sugar to the boiling chai directly as opposed to later stirring it into a cup (it changes the flavor).
Again bring to a boil over high heat. Watch carefully and once milk starts to foam and rise, remove saucepan from heat. If you like stronger tea, place saucepan back on burner and bring to a rising boil again. Remove from heat and let set for a minute.
Strain in a tea kettle through a mesh strainer, pressing on the tea leaves with the back of a spoon to drain all of the liquid. Pour into cups and drink while hot.