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 ¼ teaspoon each of ground ginger, cardamom, and black pepper, and tiny pinches of ground cloves and cinnamon.
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife (adult needed)
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cup
- Medium Pot
- Wooden spoon
- Fine-mesh strainer
- Heatproof container
- 2 mugs
- 1 (1½-inch) piece fresh ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 whole cardamom pods, broken open
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 decaffeinated black tea bags (or 2 tablespoon loose decaffeinated black tea)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄3 cup water
- 2 cups milk
- 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. Set aside.
- 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 1½ minutes. Add the tea (if you're using tea bags, tear them open and empty out the tea), ginger, sugar, 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 a 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 strainer over the heatproof container, pour the chai through the strainer, and compost or throw away the solids in the strainer. Ladle the chai into the mugs and serve right away.