My idea of a good time is a good book and a steaming glass (no, make that a full pot) of masala tea.
I picked up my addiction to masala tea when we traveled in India. Fortunately, I’ve been able to build my own version of masala tea here at home–absent the buffalo milk often used to make the tea in India, of course.
Here is my “take” on masala tea.
Recipe: Masala Tea (Chai)
Boil a stick of cinnamon, 5 whole cloves, 4 crushed green cardamom pods, 2 star anise pods, a 2-3 inch stick of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds in two cups of water for about five minutes. (Your kitchen will smell wonderful!)
Add four cups of milk to the fragrant spiced water and simmer on a low heat for five minutes more, stirring often. Add 4-5 teaspoons of black tea to the liquid and let mixture steep (covered) for 10 minutes until the black tea colors your drink a warm brown color. Sweeten to your taste with sugar.
Strain the spices out of the hot liquid and serve.
Cook’s Notes: I garnished my tea with a cinnamon stick and a star anise pod for my photograph. Pretty though it may be, you will need to remove those spices before drinking your tea.
The spicing of one’s masala tea can be individualized to one’s taste. I like (no, love) a whole lot of spices in my tea but you can change up the spices you use in your tea. This tea is also quite good with a slice of fresh ginger added to the spices and/or a few whole black pepper pods.
If you are vegan, you can substitute soy milk in this recipe.
I use black Gulabi tea (available in Indian markets and, locally, at Jon’s Supermarket) in my tea. You will get a pretty powerful punch of caffeine in your tea depending upon how much black tea you add and how long you allow your tea to steep.
Normally, I try to control my caffeine intake to make it possible for me to sleep at night, but, when it comes to masala tea, I lose all self control. Maybe that is where the good book comes into play.