Chai (it rhymes with "pie") is a gently spiced, slightly sweet, milky tea from India. Almost everyone there drinks it, from very young kids to great, great grandparents! This recipe calls for whole spices, but if it's more convenient to use ground spices instead, use 1/4 teaspoon each of ground ginger, cardamom, and black pepper, and tiny pinches of ground clove and cinnamon.
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Fine mesh strainer
Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.
- Cut the ginger into 2 or 3 pieces, then put the pieces on a cutting board and bash them with the bottom of the pot to crush them. Pile the peppercorns, cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon stick on the board, put the pot on top of them and press down hard, rocking the pot back and forth a little bit, to lightly crush them. Clean off the bottom of the pot.
- Add the crushed spices to the pot and put it on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-low and warm the spices until they are fragrant (you'll be able to smell them if you put your nose over the pot), about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the tea (if you're using teabags, tear them open and empty out the tea), ginger, sugar (or honey), and water.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil, about 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the milk, stir, and bring just to the boil, about 4 minutes (watch carefully and move the pot off the heat if it looks like it might boil over). Immediately adjust the heat to very low and simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.
- Set the sieve over the heatproof container, pour the chai through the sieve to strain it, and compost or throw away the solids in the sieve. Ladle the chai into the mugs, and serve right away.