Indian chai is a spiced milk tea made with black tea, milk, sweetener, and spices—usually cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and peppercorns. For this soothing beverage, we combined the traditional chai spices with milk and cocoa instead of tea.
6 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom pods
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 (1/4-inch) slices fresh ginger
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
Additional cinnamon sticks (optional)
How to Make It
Place first 4 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag, and crush spices into small pieces using a rolling pin or meat mallet.
Combine crushed spices, milk, brown sugar, and ginger in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat 8 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles form at edge of saucepan (do not boil). Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes.
Add cocoa to milk mixture, and stir. Cook mixture over medium heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly until blended. Strain mixture through a sieve, and serve immediately. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.