A traditional drink of India, Masala Chai has become a popular beverage worldwide. While you may certainly purchase teabags at your local grocery store, you will achieve a more authentic flavor if you make it yourself, bouquet garni style, using the following recipe.
- For eight servings:
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root; grated
- 1 whole star anise broken up
- 1 teaspoon orange peel; grated
- 4 pieces cinnamon sticks; 1½ inch
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 10 whole cloves
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 5 cups water
- ¼ cup black tea leaves; (like Assam or Darjeeling)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 cups skim milk
- Bundle up the first seven ingredients in a length of cheese cloth and tie it together with a string. This is called a bouquet garni (pronounced "boo-KAY gar-NEE").
- Place the bouquet garni in a pot of water. The string should be tied to the handle for easy removal later on.
- Bring the water to a very low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Boiling water may extract too much bitterness from the tea leaves.
- Add tea leaves and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bouquet garni.
- Strain the remaining liquid through a sieve to remove tea leaves.
- Add honey, vanilla, and milk.
- Serve. Pour the mixture over crushed ice if you're serving it cold.