Unlike my iced tea recipe, which is fairly set, my chai recipe oscillates between simple and, admittedly, overly complex. Procedures and ingredients shift around to accommodate my moods. Sometimes I dump everything in a pot and just cook the hell out of it. Other times — like this morning — I use a three-step procedure that’s still pretty simple and still just uses one pot.
Depending on what I feel like, I may include fresh ginger, fennel seed, black pepper, a bay leaf, or even vanilla. But I always use cinnamon, cloves, turbinado sugar, black tea, whole milk, and — the core of any good chai for me — cardamom.
Here’s this morning’s batch. It's not nearly as heavily sweetened as commercial concentrates such as Oregon Chai. Want more sugar? Hell, you're an adult. Add more sugar.
Masala ChaiGoes well with:
2 cups water
1 4” stick of cinnamon, broken into several pieces
8 whole cloves
8 green cardamom pods, crushed
2 cups whole milk
2-3 Tbl turbinado sugar
1.5 Tbl loose leaf black tea, such as Assam
Bring the water through cardamom to a boil in a pot. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and let burble away about ten minutes. Add the milk and sugar. Bring almost to a boil, add the tea leaves, then cover and let rest about 3 minutes. Strain. Drink it as hot as you can stand it.
- Fat Lips Spill Sips. Ever wonder why some cocktail shakers, cups, and pots just always seem to spill while others don’t? It might be a trick of physics called the Teapot Effect first identified in 1957.
- Hot Cocoa for a Chilly Morning. When San Diego gets cold and clammy in the late winter, I'm more likely to break out a mug of hot cocoa than hot tea. This is the recipe I use.