Enjoyed by millions in India, Masala Chai, a spiced, sweetened black tea mixed with milk, is now popular around the world. It is sold all over India by chai wallahs, or tea vendors, who pour the tea from big kettles into small cups. Americans have incorrectly shortened the name to chai (which means simply “milk tea”); masala refers to the combination of spices, which often includes cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, fennel, and star anise. Although there are many chai blends available in supermarkets, making your own is quick and satisfying, and the results are much better!
Among Taiwanese black teas, Assam is the perfect one to drink with milk. The robust and malty characters from Assam Tea are enhanced by natural spicy flavors. Then, milk and brown sugar smooths the masculine taste, making it a wonderful fall season drink. You must try it!
Total time: 20 min
½ tablespoon cardamom seeds or ground cardamom
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
12 pieces of cloves
1 piece of star anise
½ teaspoon fresh ground peppercorns (preferably white)
1 cups milk (I use non-fat milk, but whole milk may taste better)
3-4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground ginger
32 fl. oz water
½ oz loose Assam Black Tea leaves
Equipment: a 2-qt saucepan and a sieve or a tea strainer
- Boil ground spice mix, ginger and 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste in the water with mid-heat till the water is boiled, about 15 minutes.
- Add the tea leaves into the spice mix water, and boil about 2 minutes
- Put milk (in room temperature) in the spice tea, and stir or whisk in brown sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes to infuse flavors.
- When tea is ready, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve (discard tea leaves). Stir before serving.