Masala chai is the lifeblood of India. Served in scant shot glasses from dawn until way past dusk, this beverage is EVERYWHERE you look. It’s in little makeshift cafes, sold by chai-wallahs at every bus station, train station and street corner, and brewing in every home.
I’ll never forget sitting in open-air chai shops in India, drinking creamy, ultra-sweet masala chai. Authentic chai is made with thick buffalo milk, black tea, spices and considerably too much sugar.
Many people refer to this beverage as just chai, but ‘chai’ simply means ‘tea’; not until the beautiful spices are added does it become masala chai.
Coarsely crack the cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and cloves using a mortar and pestle, or a coffee or spice grinder.
Bring the milk to a simmer in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Stir or whisk in the brown sugar, ground spice mixture, fresh ginger and salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for up to 3 minutes to infuse the flavours. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring
Pour the tea through a fine-mesh sieve into the hot milk mixture, discarding the tea leaves. Cook over low heat for 1 minute.
Strain the mixture again to remove the ginger. Stir before serving.
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