Treat yourself to Biju’s single most favorite beverage from his childhood home, India. The spices used and the strength of the tea vary from region to region, but the basics of a good chai are simple: a strong black tea (Assam, Ceylon, or pekoe), your favorite milk, and a touch of sweetness. From there you can add in any number of spices that make you happy.
Mumbai Spiced Chai
3 cups water
6 tea bags or 6 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea
3 cinnamon sticks
1 thumb fresh ginger, smashed
2 cloves cardamom
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 teaspoons brown sugar, honey, or agave
3 cups milk
Sprinkle of cinnamon
In a tea kettle, bring the water to a boil. While the water is heating, place the tea and spices in a saucepan. Pour the boiling water over them.
Steep the tea until it is nice and strong, about 5–10 minutes. Squeeze out the tea bags (if using) and strain the liquid. Stir in sweetener of your choice and milk while the mixture is still warm.
For an iced chai, let cool and pour over ice.
For a hot chai, return the chai to the saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Be sure to stir the liquid to keep the milk from scorching.
Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and drink it down.
Per serving: Calories 70, Protein 4 g, Carbs 11 g, Fat 1 g, Fiber 0 g, Sodium 59 mg
Adapted from Feed Zone Table: Family-Style Meals to Nourish Life and Sport by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim, with permission of VeloPress.