Served throughout India as “Masala Chai” which translates to “spiced tea,” yes, “chai tea” as we refer to it in the west, literally means “tea tea” this beverage dates back thousands of years. The simmering aroma of the exotic spices of this medicinal blend instantly brings us back to our many trips to India where it is served everywhere, all the time, year round, hot and iced. As we fight our way through these cold winter days we can think of nothing more soothing and satisfying than a rich and creamy cup of Masala Chai. Enjoy and let us know how you like it.
Yin Yang Yogi Chai Tea
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of cardamom pods
6 Whole cloves
6 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1” piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced (optional: if you like the extra flavor and heat or are recovering from the flu or a cold)
4 ½ cups of filtered water
2 tablespoons of Darjeeling, black tea or any loose tea of choice (you may use tea bags but the quality found is generally better with loose teas)
1 cup of Milk, nut or dairy
Sweeten to taste with brown rice syrup, honey or agave
Combine first 5 ingredients in a mortar and crush with pestle just to release their aroma. Be very careful not to turn into powder. If you do not have a mortar and pestle place on a cutting board and use a heavy pan to crush.
In a medium saucepan add the crushed spices and fresh ginger. Pour in the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the tea leaves, and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain immediately, it will become strong quickly, discarding tea leaves and spices. Stir in the milk and sweeten as desired. Bring the mixture back to the saucepan and return to simmer for a few minutes until milk and sugar are warmed through. Serve immediately.
*Note: There are hundreds of chai recipes so feel free to add or eliminate spices to your own taste. Some variations could include vanilla bean, a bay leaf, star anise and nutmeg to name a few.