Everyone who knows me knows I love tea...but that I LOVE chai tea. I have about 4 or 5 blends of chai tea in the apartment at any given time, and I will never ever have less than 3. Well this week, I decided making real chai by boiling spices over the stove. I looked up several recipes, and decided on this one from Whole Foods website because while the timing of things is not the simplest, the ingredients all were.
When it comes to these ingredients, particularly Indian spices, I always check out the ethnic section of Wegman's. They have big bags of cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, and anything else you might want for truly 1/3 of the price of the regular spice section, and you get 4-10 times more in a bag weight wise.
First, you chuck in the cinnamon (recipe calls for 1 stick. I put in 4. Because cinnamon), 6 cloves, 6 pods of "lightly crushed" cardamom (I found this very tough to do as I have no good crushing implements but I don't feel like it affected anything to have them not crushed), 1 tsp of whole peppercorns, and ginger (I had no fresh ginger so I sprinkled in a tiny bit of powdered, as I don't like ginger much anyway. The recipe calls for an inch nub.).
Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer (covered) for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat (or remove from heat if it is an electric stove) for 10 minutes.
Then, add in black tea. Recipe calls for ONE tablespoon of black tea...for 4 cups. I put in 4-5 teaspoons. Because I like my tea to taste like tea. Bring everything to a boil again and then remove from heat and let it steep 3-5 minutes.
After, strain out all the "bits" and return the liquid to the pot, adding as much sweetener as you like. I add two tablespoons of agave. The recipe then calls for a cup of whole milk, but I used a cup of fat free and didn't feel like the recipe suffered at ALL. Then heat it slowly on low so the milk warms, and it is then ready to serve.
Crazy delicious, not hard at all, and not that time consuming if you love chai like I do. I made it alongside my lunch and it didn't take much effort at all to keep busy during the "waiting" periods. I suspect I will plow through the big bag of cinnamon in no time at all...