Okay, yes, I am about to tell you how to make a cup of tea, but this is no ordinary cup of tea. India’s best kept secret, almost none of my friends had heard of Indian tea until I mentioned it. Introduced to me by my friend Prem, Indian Tea is somewhat of an event among Indian families’ as it tastes better when made for a large party of people. I believe this has something to do with the length of time the ingredients have to infuse and mix together whilst in the water, thus improving it’s taste, the perfect excuse to make more. Recipes vary slightly but this is the one that Prem follows and I feel it is my duty to share it with the rest of the world, as it is so darn tasty.
You will need (to serve 4)
- A large saucepan,
- A small strainer (to rest over a mug)
- 4 large mugs
- 1 or 2 black cardamom seeds
- 6 green cardamom seeds
- A large handful of fennel seeds
- 4 or 5 cloves
- 3 breakfast tea bags
- 2 small slices of ginger, chopped into quarters
- 8 large teaspoons of brown sugar
- Semi-skimmed milk
- Firstly, set your stove at a medium heat. Secondly fill one of your mugs right up to the top with water and pour into your saucepan. Repeat this four times (For five people your going to want to do this 5 times, obviously, and so on).
- Place your saucepan on the hob and continue to add the spices. Now, depending on how your guests feel about this (If you’ve just seen Contagion you’re probably going to want to do this with a very sharp knife), bite the cardamom seeds, both black and green, just enough so that they pop open. You don’t want the insides of the seeds to go into the tea, you just want to help intensify its flavour. I use one black cardamom seed for between 1 and 4 people but for a stronger flavour, add 2.
- Add your fennel seeds, cloves and ginger and leave in the water until you start to notice the bubbles at the bottom of your pan. At this point your’ going to want to add your sugar (Again it’s two sugars per person so if you’re making this for a larger party of people, you’ll need to add more).
- Once that has simmered away add your tea bags. If the water is already at boiling point by this time, turn your heat down just a tad, but the longer your water remains boiling, the more intense the flavour of your cup of tea. There is absolutely no need to stir your tea at any point but just to ensure the infusion of the teabags I like to use a wooden spoon to stir a little at this point.
- Lastly, add your milk. It is up to you how much or how little you put in but you want your tea to be a healthy light brown colour.
- Your tea should now be boiling and rising to the top of the pan. As the tea rises, lift the pan up so that the tea falls down again and then replace it on the hob until the tea rises again. Repeat this three times, remove from heat and serve. Before placing your strainer on top of your mug, use it to remove the tea bags from the saucepan. Pour directly from the saucepan into your mugs ensuring the strainer catches all of the seeds. This can be a little messy sometimes so wipe down your mug before serving.
Now sit back, relax and enjoy your new favourite cuppa!