From the Fast and Easy Indian cookbook
Chai is the word for tea in many parts of the world. In India chai is traditionally made with black tea, warming spices, milk and a natural sweetener to draw out all the spicy flavours. The spices used vary from family to family but generally include some or all of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. Many thanks to Vinita Randle-Rai for the Thermomix chai technique to which we have added our own variations. Serves 6.
1 cardamom pod (elchi)
2 to 3 whole cloves
1 to 5 peppercorns – optional
2 cm cinnamon stick
700 g water
500 g milk
5 tsp loose tea leaves or 5 tea bags black tea
50 to 100 g sugar or other natural sweetener to taste, e.g. palm sugar, jaggery, date sugar, honey
2mm slice fresh ginger root – optional
1. Grind cardamom, cloves and any other spices you are using for 10 seconds/Speed 6.
2. Add water and milk. Insert internal steaming basket and place tea, sugar (and ginger if using) in it. Cook for 9 minutes / 100° C / Speed 4 then taste. Continue to cook for a further 1 minute if a stronger flavour is desired. Lift out the basket using the hook on the TM spatula. Strain the tea through a tea strainer into 6 cups.
Variations: Additional choices of spices for chai include any of the following:
coriander – coriander seeds should be freshly roasted and ground before use in chai;
chocolate – use unsweetened dark chocolate or cocoa; fennel- fennel seeds can be crushed or used whole and should be added at the last minute;
liquorice root – use only a tiny bit of dried root;
nutmeg and/or mace – when using nutmeg or mace in chai, add them at the last minute as they lose flavour quickly when heated;
vanilla – scrape the seeds out of a pod and add them to the chai;
dried chilli peppers with or without seeds.