Chai (the Hindi term for tea) is a spectacular beverage, perfect for any cold Winter's day. The spices and herbs warm the body and comfort the soul. I've experimented with a few variations, and have decided to post a more traditional variation of this classical Indian spice tea, closer to what it may have been before the English introduced and encouraged the heavy use of black tea to the country. For those who desire black tea in their chai, after removing chai mix from heat, add 2-3 tsp loose black tea (recommend decaf) or 2 tea bags, steep three minutes; strain and serve.
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp cardamom powder or 2 pods black cardamom, crushed
4 whole black peppercorns
2-4 slices fresh ginger
1/4 tsp of cinnamon or 1 large stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
2/3-3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I prefer soy)
raw sugar or agave nectar to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Combine water and all spices in a small saucepan; bring to a low boil. Lower heat to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add non-dairy milk and sweetener of choice and bring to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Strain through a fine sieve and serve hot.
*gluten free, can be soy free if choosing coconut or almond milk