I'm finally in Delhi after two years. One of the first things I did after I got here was to walk up to a road-side tea stall and have 'adhrak waali chai' with 'fain'... one of my life's little pleasures. It's a small thing but I really miss doing this in New Jersey. Even though we make ginger chai at home, it doesn't compare to the experience of sipping ginger chai at a road-side tea stall on a cold winter morning! Nope... nothing like it!
Ginger chai is so healthy during the winters. I recommend drinking a cup everyday to keep you warm, especially if you are a vegetarian like me. Ginger has so many benefits and is one of my top spices to use in winter. It aids digestion, which is pretty slow in the winter. It calms menstrual cramps (I can vouch for that). It reduces stress and improves circulation. So if you suffer from cold hands and feet, drink up some ginger chai. If you have a hot constitution, and you feel hotter after you have some ginger chai, then it's best to avoid it.
Here's my recipe for 4 cups of ginger chai. The spices are optional as they give more flavor and heat to the chai.
4 cups filtered water
4 spoons of sugar (optional)/1 spoon of honey
1 inch piece of ginger (grated)
2 cardamoms, 2 cloves, 5 black pepper corns - crushed (optional)
1/4 cup of grass-fed cow's milk
2.5 tsp. tea leaves
Bring water, sugar, and ginger to a boil. If you are using honey, add that to the tea after it is made.
Reduce the flame a little and let the water boil for another 5 minutes.
Add the tea leaves to the ginger water and let it boil for a minute. I use Tata Tea Gold tea leaves.
Heat the milk in a separate pot and add it to the boiling ginger water. Turn off the gas.
Strain tea and serve immediately. Enjoy with a biscuit or two. If it's not too cold outside, step out into your balcony, enjoy the view, and sip some chai.
NOTE: If you are lactose intolerant, you can substitute milk in the chai with 'almond milk'. If you suffer from bloating or other digestion issues, drink a small cup of this tea without milk or almond milk before your meals.