When I was in high school, I met a man from Tanzania who was working as an international student advisor at a boarding school. I was visiting some friends there and he taught us all how to make his country’s version of chai — that spicy, sweet tea that more and more people around the world are discovering and enjoying. Chai recipes differ from region to region, so this particular chai may not taste like what you’re used to. However, this is a fantastic recipe and I still make it, almost a decade later, when I want a treat!
Chai From Scratch
a 1:1 ratio of milk to water (I usually do about 2 or 3 cups of each)
3 tsp loose black tea leaves (I use Kenyan Tinderet as it is strong and goes well with milk)
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cardamom pods, cracked open
generous amount of freshly cracked pepper
sugar or honey to taste
1. In a pot, combine all the ingredients except the sugar/honey and cover. Heat over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not bring the chai to a boil, as the milk may stick to the bottom of the pot. Once the mixture is hot, add your sweetener of choice and stir to help it dissolve. If the tea is not strong enough to your liking after 30 minutes, simply continue to brew it until you are happy with the taste. Strain and enjoy hot or cold.
NOTE: You can store any leftovers in your fridge for 2-3 days — but mine never lasts that long!