You can file this under lame, or lazy, or just plain wasteful.
Why I never started making masala chai (Indian spiced tea) at home I’ll never know. I have been telling myself to look into this for years, but just never got around to it.
Enter a post I read related to Project Food Blog, a FoodBuzz competition, from The Doctor’s Kitchen. There it was: a simple recipe to make what you have to pay dearly for in any cafe. I adapted the masala chai recipe slightly to serve my main purpose, which is “generic” cold chai, sans milk, to do whatever I please with. Often I just pour it over ice and add a little sweetened condensed milk, or just skim milk, or I drink it as-is.
Easy, easy, easy, and you’ll be flush in chai. Make plenty at a sitting, like I do.
If you want it hot, sweet and milky, as served in a cafe, just add some milk and sugar (or sweetened condensed milk) after the steeping and bring to just under a simmer.
By the by, chai just means “tea,” thought it has taken on the meaning of “masala chai” over the years among the English and the Americans.
Please don’t pour it over ice as soon as it’s made or it will be cloudy and weak. Let it cool on the counter top and then move it to the fridge to get cold. It’ll be worth the wait – nice and strong and clear.
Makes 2 quarts
2 quarts water
8 whole cloves
8 green cardamom pods
1 whole cinnamon stick (which you can reuse a couple of times – I do!)
6 tea bags (use bags that produce a good, strong cuppa BLACK tea)
1). Bring water and all spices to a boil in a saucepot.
2). Simmer for 15 minutes.
3). Add tea bags and simmer for no more than 2 minutes.
4). Remove from heat and squeeze and remove tea bags.
5). Allow to cool a bit in the pan.
6). Remove spices with a skimmer, reserving the cinnamon for the next pot.
7). Transfer to glass pitchers.
8). Allow to cool almost completely on the counter and then cover and pop in fridge.
9). When completely cold, serve as you like.