According to my friend who used to live in India, “chai” means tea and there are many kinds of chai – some of them are spiced. So, this is the way that I make spiced chai, but you can alter the spices to suit your tastes. Whole spices are the way to go since they have more flavor and won’t leave powder floating on your tea. I know it’s expensive to use whole spices in the US, but you can get a lot of chai out of these spices. Boil the spices at least twice more for additional pots of tea.
For those of you in Laos – the Indian store “Mumbai Masala” in Vientiane is a great place to buy whole spices. Also try looking at Tesco in Udon and Spice Story in the Bangkok Paragon. Although Spice Story is a fancy looking store in the very posh Paragon mall, their prices are surprisingly reasonable and their packaging is nice. Most of the spices sold there are grown in Thailand.
- 3 star anise
- 5 cardamom pods, slightly opened
- 5 cloves
- 10 black beppercorns
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- Black tea (1 bag or 1 tablespoon)
- Peel and slice the ginger
- Put all the spices in a pot and cover with 3 C water
- Simmer for 20 minutes
- Turn off the heat and add the tea/teabag
- Add milk and reheat
- Strain into a teapot and serve with sugar