Masala Chai Tea

A few months back, I purchased a large bag of fresh green cardamom pods. I had bought them intending to attempt to recreate murgh makhani (butter chicken in Indian) that I had tried at a local restaurant. Ever since, I've been trying to come up with new recipes and ways to cook with these little green aromatic pods. These pods smell absolutely divine! One recipe that caught my eye, was Indian masala chai tea. The recipes I have found for masala chai have a few things I simply don't think would be very appealing in my tea. One such spice is black pepper. The other thing is milk. Being lactose intolerant, I have to avoid milk.. so that's instantly kicked out of the recipe. Soy milk would be a great alternative, though.

What I was left with was a simple spiced tea that everyone has complmented. It took a bit of tweaking to get the amount of spices right, but I got it! Personally, I make this masala chai by the gallon and keep it in the fridge, so that's what this recipe will reflect. Here are the ingredients:

6 bags of black tea
15 cardamom pods, crushed (I use the pointy end of a meat cleaver)
3 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon, broken into thirds
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar (more or less, depending on your tastes)

When I make my tea, I pour the honey and sugar into the bottom of my jug and fill it with boiling water. I then take the six tea bags and use the strings to tie them together. When it comes to steeping the spices, I use cheese cloth. I cut off roughly a 6-7 square inch piece from the roll and place the spices in the middle. I crush the cardamom pods directly on the cheese cloth. Pull the four corners together, twist it a bit and then using the string from the tea bags, tie it shut so the tea bags and the spice pouch are tied together. That way you can easily steep your tea and then pull out the tea bags and spice pouch in one go.

Let the tea steep in the hot water for roughly an hour. This will give the spices enough time to steep, but you can take out the tea bags until it's to the strength of your liking. Store in the fridge.