I am not a tea drinker. I have nothing against it, but coffee is my go-to, hot beverage. But yesterday afternoon my thoughts turned to chai, maybe because it’s been cold and we got a late snow, maybe because I was in need of something warm and comforting, or maybe just because it was tea time. Once I realized that chai masala simply means tea blend, that opened up a world of possibilities. Freed from the recipes based on tropical spices, I came up with my own, foraged chai masala. It’s freakin’ amazing.
What You’ll Need to Make Foraged Chai Masala
- 1 tsp. dried wild ginger rhizomes
- 1/8 tsp. dried melilot
- 1/4 tsp. dried spicebush berries
- 1/2 tsp. dried cow parsnip seeds
- 1/4 tsp spruce or fir needles (fresh or frozen)
- 2 juniper berries
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbs. black tea leaves or 1 tea bag unflavored black tea
- 1/2 cup milk
- honey to taste.
What You’ll Do to Make Foraged Chai Masala
Combine the spices and water in a saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a medium simmer, cover the pan, and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the tea. If you’re using a tea bag, cut it open and pour the tea leaves directly into the hot water. Stir to combine, cover, and let the mixture steep for two minutes.
Add the milk and honey. (I like a teaspoon, my husband likes none. Suit yourself.) Return the mixture to the heat and bring it back to a boil. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid into a mug.
I am enchanted by this flavor combination. I can’t get enough. I’m going to make up a batch in bulk and keep it on hand so I don’t have to do the mixing each time I want a cup of foraged chai masala. And now I’m wondering how the chai would taste with a sploosh of Irish whiskey. More research is required.