When I was in high school, I dated an Indian boy and developed a love for Indian culture, Indian food, and, of course, chai. This recipe is my version of a technique I learned at his house. The key to best flavor is steeping the tea in both water and milk (instead of in water only then adding milk). If you have fresh mint or fresh lemon grass to toss in the pot, either one can make for a delicious addition. Measurements are approximated; there’s no need to be exact when making chai. This recipe makes 2 mugs of chai.
- 1 mug water
- 1 mug milk (whole milk preferred)
- 2 tablespoons tea leaves
- 4 tablespoons sugar (plus more as desired – as a general rule, I do twice as much sugar as tea leaves)
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
Put all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot. Do not stir (so sugar will stay on the bottom and help to protect milk from scalding). Heat pot over low heat until milk begins to boil and foams up at the edges. Turn off burner and remove pot from heat. Let steep for 5-7 minutes. Pour tea through strainer to remove leaves and enjoy!