Ingredients:1 x 3" piece cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 whole cloves
8 whole green cardamom, lightly crushed
6 whole black peppercorns
4 slices fresh ginger
2 cups water
2 Tbsp loose black tea or 4 x tea bags (Darjeeling is preferred)
2 cups milk
1-2 Tbsp Sugar or more to taste (sugar is traditional and helps bring out the complexity of the spices)
1 tsp vanilla
1. In a stove top tea pot, medium saucepan or tea kettle combine the dry spices, ginger and water. Bring to a boil. Add the tea and continue cooking for 1 minute.
2. Reduce the heat, add the milk and simmer on low for 10 minutes in order for the spices to infuse and the tea to get good and strong.
3. Remove from heat, stir in sugar and vanilla and if using a glass kettle, serve. If using a saucepan use a small strainer to carefully lift the larger spices out of the pot and them pour the whole mixture into a tea pot with a built in strainer small enough to catch the remaining spices (don't worry if you don't have the right tea pot, the tea I was served when I fell in love with this drink always had spices floating around). If using a tea kettle, place a small strainer over each cup as you serve the tea in order to catch the spices as they pour out (be prepared for a little spilling).
4. Gather sweet friends or neighbours and enjoy one anothers company over a cup of chai!
Note: You can also turn this recipe into a spice syrup you can then just stir into hot milk when you feel like it. To adjust the recipe, just omit the milk and all but 1/2 cup of water and increase the sugar to 2 Tbsp. Cook to dissolve sugar, strain, chill and keep in a squeeze bottle for easy access. You will likely use about 2 Tbsp of syrup for a nice big cup or a small pot of masala chai.