A perfect cup of hot chai can easily top my list as one of the food wonders of the world. Everyone has their preference of how they like their tea. An authentic Punjabi Ginger Chai is my favorite beverage in the world. You can become someone's instant best friend by offering a cup of this tea:
1 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk (2%)
2 1/2 teaspoons loose black tea leaves (I used Red Label, Tetley, in the past, but now I use Girnar brand of Assam tea, thanks to my neighbor who recommended it, it's the best in the world and I'm hooked!)
1-2 pods green cardamon, crushed
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 tulsi (ie. holy basil) leaf (optional)
sugar to taste
Place everything except the milk into a pot and bring to a boil, I usually cover the pot to make it go quicker. Remove the lid, add milk (some people warm the milk in the microwave first) and bring the pot to a full boil over medium-high heat. Watch carefully as you don't want the chai to boil over the pot. When it reaches a full boil, reduce heat and simmer for a minute or so. Strain the chai with a fine sieve into two cups. Add sugar to your own level of sweetness.
Variations: in the winter sometimes I add 1 crushed clove, or a 1/4 inch small piece of cinnamon stick. These warming spices are really soothing when the weather is cold.
We always accompany tea with something salty, sweet, or both. My favorite accompaniments include tea rusk, biscotti, bakarwadi, poha, and of course samosas! Enjoy!
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