I just got back from Uganda, where there is a large Indian influence. We often get offered African tea, which is basically Masala chai, or spiced tea. Every person makes it a bit differently, and Ugandans tend to be quite heavy on the ginger while lighter on the other spices (which aren’t as readily available). This recipe is a mix of some interesting spices plus fresh ginger, so I’m going to give it a whirl!
5–7 green cardamom pods *
3–4 whole cloves
1–2 star anise (optional ) **
5–7 peppercorns (optional)
1 cup of water
2–3 slices ginger (skins ok)
½ cinnamon stick- split lengthwise ( use your fingers to separate)
1–2 tablespoons loose leaf black tea, (or 1–2 tea bags) or sub decaf black tea
1 cup milk of your choice- almond, oat, soy, cashew, hemp, macadamia, or whole milk ***
* I didn’t have whole green cardamom pods, so I used some powdered
** I thought I had these, but didn’t!
*** I used 1% because that’s what my husband uses — I’m not a milk drinker
Lightly crush the cardamom, cloves, star anise and peppercorns and place in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Add ginger, cinnamon and black tea. Muddle the ginger. (I did this in a bowl, since I was planning to steep it a long time — and because my small pot was in the dishwasher!)
Bring to a boil (or add boiling water). Turn off the heat and let it steep at least 10 min, or much longer — the longer it steeps, the more flavor. I did mine overnight.
If you did the previous step in a bowl, transfer to a small pot. Add 1 cup of milk and bring to a simmer. Sweeten to taste. I used some honey and some sugar.
Strain into glasses or a mug. This tea is traditionally served in small glasses, but you can use a mug, too.
RP Servings: 1 or 2
I did miss the star anise, and I’m not sure how much fresh cardamom would have changed it, but I actually liked it more than I expected to — and a lot more than I usually like African tea. (I love ginger, but they go sooooo heavy on it!) At first, I thought it smelled a little weird when I brought it to my mouth to sip, but really… delicious! You could VERY easily tweak this to your tastes and what’s available in your pantry. Perfect for a chilly February day!