An update: Masala Chai
March 03, 2021
Chai has become an adored beverage in North America in the last 20 years. "Chai" is the Hindi word for tea. Chai can be made with or without spices, milk and natural sweetener. The proper term for the spiced tea that we love is "Masala Chai" meaning mixed-spice tea. Below is a traditional method of decocting the spices together, which makes a very rich tea compared with the tea bag infusions you can buy at the grocery store.
Masala Chai has the following beneficial health properties: anti-microbial action, blood sugar regulation, can help to ease intestinal gas and improve digestion, immune boosting and anti-inflammatory, as well as antioxidant effective which can be increased by using green tea instead of the traditional black tea. If you are unable to have caffeine or are trying to reduce caffeine intake, make your Masala Chai with rooibos rather than black, green or white tea leaves.
The following recipes serves 3, or 2 if you enjoy a large mug of Chai. In our house, I usually quadruple the dry ingredients (spices and tea) and store them together in a glass jar, so we can easily prepare a single serving whenever we'd like one.
My daughter loves this Chai so much that once per week I decoct 8 teaspoons of the dried spice mix in 4-5 cups of water only on a slow simmer for 45 mins covered and then strain and store the tea in a large glass jug in the fridge. She drinks it cold with a splash of almond milk everyday.
Crush the cinnamon sticks, and star anise with mortar and pestle. Crush half of the cardamom pods, cloves, and peppercorns with mortar and pestle. Bring water to boil. Add spices and boil covered for 45 mins. When the water is reddish-brown turn off heat and add tea to steep for 1 minute (if you are making a batch of the dried spices to store, add the tea leaves to this mix, you will then steep the spices and tea together). Strain out spices and tea, and add milk, if desired. Sweeten with stevia or honey, if desired.