Enjoyed as spiced milk tea in India and Pakistan, chai gets its unique and soothing flavor from black tea leaves steeped with spices and blended with milk and a sweetener. ("To steep" is to soak dry ingredients, such as tea and spices in liquid until the flavor is infused into the liquid.) Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and even peppercorns, are commonly used, but others, such as allspice, cinnamon, fennel and nutmeg, add variety to chai-making.
Not only enjoyed as an aromatic beverage, chai has health benefits, too — among them, the potential antioxidant benefits of tea and spices, and the calcium, vitamin D, protein and other nutrients from milk.
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger root or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 stick cinnamon
2½ cups water
2 tea bags (black tea)
2½ cups low-fat milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange zests, for garnish (optional)
Before you begin: Wash your hands.
- Combine the ginger root, cardamom, cloves and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Fill a saucepan with water; bring to a full boil. Place the tea bags and cinnamon stick in the water. Stir in the spice mixture. Reduce to simmer.
- Steep for about 5 minutes, or longer for a strong, rich tea flavor.
- Remove the tea bags and cinnamon stick.
- Add the milk and honey. Continue to simmer until the chai is heated through, stirring gently to keep scum from forming on milk.
- Pour the chai into mugs. Sprinkle with the orange zests, if desired.
- If using loose tea instead of tea bags, use 2 tablespoons loose black tea. Strain to remove tea leaves before serving.
- If the tea bags break open, strain chai before serving.
- Chai can also be served over ice as a cold summer beverage, or even as the flavor inspiration for a chai smoothie or milk shake.
Calories: 110; Calories from fat: 15; Total fat: 1.5g; Saturated fat: 1g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 80mg; Total carbohydrate: 17g; Dietary fiber: 0g; Sugars: 16g; Protein: 6g