When life is too colorless to continue and like Dorothy you’ve clicked the shit out your ruby-bottomed Louboutins to no avail, forget Starbucks. Make your own chai instead. With one sip you will be transported to the shores of French Colonial Pondicherry where life smells of jasmine, desserts taste like roses, and sounds from the Bay of Bengal lull chubby princesses like myself to sleep.
2 cups water
1/4-1/2 cup milk, depending on your preference
2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks
1/2 vanilla bean sliced down the center or a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
the contents of 6 cardamom pods
2 twists of a pepper mill
2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
3 black teabags without bergamot (a strong English breakfast would do nicely)
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar ( more if you prefer it quite sweet)
Bring the water to a boil. When it does, add all ingredients EXCEPT for the sugar and milk. Let bubble for three minutes then simmer for two.
Next, turn the heat down to low and add the milk. Stir often to avoid scalding and also to prevent the milk from forming a skin. After a couple more minutes of stewing, take off the heat and stir in the sugar. Now strain your tea into a small pot (my favorite strainer is the top hat model from Fortnum & Mason) and pretend you never tasted the “chai” at your local coffee bar.
Post scriptum: The word chai means tea in Hindi so when coffee shops have “chai tea” on the menu they’re being redundant. Now you know two things they don’t. 1. How to make proper chai. 2. The definition of said word.