I scoured the internet finding recipes that I could try to see which was the best. The first couple recipes have yielded mediocre (at best) teas. One even tasted a bit like what I would guess dish water would taste like. I was about to give up, but decided this morning I would try one last recipe that sounded promising.
It starts off with creating a bouquet garni, which is just your own spice blend tied up in a cheese cloth. The recipe called for grated fresh ginger, hence the porcelain grater in the background. I hear microplanes or even the small holes on a box grater both do a good job of grating fresh ginger if you don't have this crazy tool.
All tied up and ready to drop into 5 c. of water:
While bringing my spice blend and water to a boil, I got the 1/4 c. of tea ready. I don't have any loose leaf tea, so I opened a lot of tea bags. Nine, to be exact. It about got me to about a 1/4 cup.
I added the tea to the pot, and steeped it for 15 minutes. This seemed quite a long time to steep it, but I went with it. I mean, the name of the recipe is "The Perfect Chai Tea", right?
While it was steeping, I got my mesh strainer ready.
And my honey ready. Mmmm... honey.
I strained out all the tea leaves, rinsed out my pot, then re-strained it as I poured it back into the pot.
I added 3 c. of milk, the vanilla and the honey and voila. Masala Chai!
Time to taste...
And the verdict: While I am by no means a Chai expert, I find that it still isn't even in the same arena as Mindy's Chai. The 1 tsp. of vanilla adds a little too much vanilla flavor for my taste and the flavors of the spice blend are kind of lost. I also miss the cardamom flavor that I get in Mindy's tea. And it's a lot of work. Put a fork in me, I'm done and Mindy's tea wins.
- 2 t. grated ginger root
- 1 t. grated orange peel
- 1 whole star anise (broken up)
- 4 pieces cinnamon bark (about 1.5 inches)
- 1 t. cardamom seeds
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 5 c. water
- 1/4 c. black tea leaves (Darjeeling and Assam work well)
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/4 c. honey
- 3 c. milk
- Medium pot
- Cheesecloth and string (or empty teabags)
- Using your cheesecloth, put together a bouquet garni. Include everything except the liquid ingredients and the tea in your bouqet garni.
- Place the bouquet garni into a pot with 5 c. water. Bring to a low boil, lower the heat and keep it at a simmer.
- Add tea leaves and continue simmering for 15 minutes.
- Pluck out the spices using a spoon or tongs.
- Strain out tea leaves.
- Add the milk, honey and vanilla and serve. If serving cold, pour over ice.
Source: The Perfect Chai Tea