South Asians LOVE their tea. It's engrossed in the culture. Tea time or "Chai Paani" for the adults means that day break during a busy day with family and friends, or just some relaxation time with a cup of tea on the porch. And for kids it means an array of cookies, sweets and savory snacks to indulge on and have your moms tea full of crumbs from all the dipping.
We make tea two ways: water based or milk based and here we will be discussing the later. Masala Chai, also known as Doodh Patti is spiced milk leaf tea.
Doodh (Dude): Milk
Patti (Pa-T): Leaf
Now, this is not your normal coffee house "Chai Latte," this is the REAL deal! Steeped tea in milk, infused with warm chai spices to give you a creamy roundness to your palette.
Here's my take on the infamous South Asian favorite drink, "Doodh Patti!" But before I get into the recipe I want to take a minute and talk about the tea because this is the most important ingredient in the drink.
Traditionally Black Tea is used in South Asian chai, but not just any black tea. You need to look for a high grade, also known as "Orange Pekoe" when looking and buying your tea.
You can find many of these loose leaf teas at any South Asian market and tea bags at many grocery stores. Here's a list of top brands I like and have linked for this tea. This is in no way sponsored, (but I wouldn't mind receiving some free tea...hint, hint) just telling you which brands I have tried and like best.
Red Rose Orange Pekoe
Tetley Orange Pekoe
Now let's get started!
2 tsp Loose Black Tea or 2 Black Tea Bags (divided)
1 tsp Brown Sugar (optional)
1 Green Cardamom
1 Star Anise Petal (not the whole spice)
1/4 Cinnamon Stick
1 cup Water
1 cup Whole Milk
You want to start by adding your water, 1 tsp tea or 1 tea bag, along with your spices and sugar if you like. The reason I like brown sugar is because traditionally they use Jaggery, a pure concentrated form of sugar cane or date palm which contains its original form of molasses and crystals. Similarly brown sugar, which is more readily available contains molasses which gives the same roundness Jaggery does.
Bring this mixture of tea, water, spices and sugar to a rapid boil, then add your milk and second tsp of tea or tea bag.
Once again bring it to a rapid boil and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, keeping an eye on it to not over flow. You want it to reach a deep pinkish gold hue. That is when you know it's ready!
Now carefully strain it through and enjoy!
**Spices may be omitted if desired!
Makes 1 cup!