Chai translates to ‘tea’ in the Hindi language, so whenever I come across ‘chai tea’ on a menu I always have a private chuckle: “Tea tea, how amusing!”. I have such fun. This seems to be a common theme with Indian delicacies popular in western cuisine, for example ‘naan bread’, ‘chutney sauce’ and ‘pakora fritters’. Every second word is completely redundant…. and I can offer no explanation!
Masala chai is the traditional Indian sweet tea which is made from a mixture of spices and black tea which produces a beautiful aroma and warming taste. The problem is most chai lattes from coffee chains use liquid or powder chai concentrates made from falvourings and packed with sugar. Most of the ‘Christmas’ drinks from cafes are swimming with the sweet stuff and often contains more than the daily recommended allowance in one medium-sized portion – Starbuck’s chai latte contains 42g of sugar. This is not the way to experience chai, instead brew it yourself; it is more satisying, easy and so delicious. Also this version is much healthier!
So sit by the fire, grab your favourite book and enjoy this warming treat!
Ingredients Serves 2
- 350ml oz water
- 450ml/3½fl oz milk
- 2 black peppercorns
- 10 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- pinch fennel seeds
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp brown rice syrup (optional)
- 1 black tea bag
- Heat the water, milk and spices in a pan until it comes to the boil
- Turn the heat down and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes
- Add the teabag (and brown rice syrup if you want the sweetness) and let it brew for 5 minutes
- Strain into cups and enjoy