My Holiday Gift to You: World's Best Chai Tea Recipe

Do you want to make your own masala chai tea from scratch? I'm talking about the best effing chai tea in the word, mind you. This is my mom's recipe, and it's BEYOND delicious. Would I lie to you, dear reader? No, I would not.

I'm cutting and pasting the instructions she emailed to me below, so that your tastebuds can have orgasms too. You deserve it. (Remember, you can always buy what you need at your local health food store to try it out once or twice, and then buy in bulk online if you want to save money regularly).

"I use the following site to buy ginger (cut and sifted), decorticated cardamom and cinnamon:

http://www.kalyx.com/store/prodpage.cfm

It's soooo much cheaper than at Whole Foods or other places that sell spices out of jars. I buy by the pound. At the end of each item listing, there's a letter, e.g., K. It has to do where the item is located and shipped from. If possible, try to order stuff from the same place because shipping is much cheaper that way.

I don't measure the ingredients in my basic mix, so the following is approximate. You can adjust according to your personal preferences.

Chai mix:

1 cup ginger, cut and sifted (this is what it's called. You don't want powdered or dried ginger root)
1/3 cup cinnamon pieces (I find 1/4-inch works well)
1/4 cup decorticated cardamom seed
1-2 Tbs. coriander seed
2-5 bay leaves (love the bay!)
2 Tbs. black pepper

Bay and pepper are the secret ingredients. Pepper isn't so secret, but it gives chai its warmth. I sometimes add a tablespoon of whole cloves, but often don't bother.

Put everything in a food processor and run just enough to break things up a bit. You're not trying to pulverize stuff, just get a little more mileage out of it.

Be very careful not to inhale deeply over the ginger or the mixed spices. It will make you sneeze like crazy. Trust me.

Chai concentrate (makes enough for 8 cups)

6-1/2 cups of water
4 Tbs. chai mix
8 bags black tea, e.g., English Breakfast

Bring water and chai mix to boil in large saucepan. When it reaches a boil, turn it down and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, turn off heat, add tea bags, cover, and let sit for 20-30 minutes. I've sometimes forgotten about it and let it sit for a couple of hours and it still turns out great.

Pour through strainer into clean pot or bowl. With a wooden spoon, press on the spices and tea bags in the strainer to get all the liquid out. Pour chai into glass or plastic container and refrigerate. Keeps about a week.

To make chai:

Put 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid chai into cup. Add milk or soymilk to fill, microwave till hot. You can add sugar if you like it sweet, but most soymilk is sweet enough."

I know, I know. You gotta work for good chai from scratch. But if you do, I swear you'll thank me. I live for Mom's chai (and for what it's worth, I NEVER add sugar). Try it out and report back!