Chai (Indian Tea)

Another easy and wonderful traditional Indian dish you can impress your friends with is home made chai. Not the crap you make from a box or pour from concentrate either. Real chai. Chai is black tea steeped in hot milk, flavored with wonderful spices and sweetened with sugar or honey. Every Indian family has their own recipe, but again my friend Vik gave me his basic recipe which I share with you now.

5-6 Orange Pekoe tea bags
1 inch cinnamon bark
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
4 green cardamom seeds
3/4 cup whole milk
5-6 tsp sugar
5 1/2 teacups water

Note: experiment by adding whole cloves, star anise, peppercorns or allspice to the recipe.

Depending on the strength of tea you prefer, use 5 teabags for a milder flavour and 6 for a stronger flavour. The amount of sugar should also be adjusted to your preference. Break the cardamom seeds. Place the cinnamon, fennel, cardamom, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the teabags and let boil for another minute. Depending on the strength of tea you prefer, use 5 teabags for a milder flavour or 6 for a stronger flavour. Add 3/4 cup of milk (or more if you like), bring to an almost boil and remove immediately from stove. Remove teabags. Pour tea through a strainer and into a teapot. Serve while piping hot. Once the chai has cooled, it should not be reheated.


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