This chocolate chai is a twist on the classic masala chai recipe inspired by the vibrant cuisines of Brick Lane and it is featured in the Brick Lane Cookbook written by Dina Begum.
Originating in the Indian subcontinent, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses. When the days get colder, chai makes a perfect substitute to hot chocolate or regular tea as it is full of fragrant spices and flavours that instantly make you feel warmer. The addition of chocolate makes it even more of a treat and with added whipped cream you might even call it a spiced hot chocolate. You can adjust the sugar and cinnamon according to your taste and sprinkle with gingerbread crumbs to add up to the festive vibe.
8 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
2 cm fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 teaspoons loose black tea (or 4 tea bags)
500 ml whole milk
2–3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
In a pan bring 600ml water to the boil. Using a pestle and mortar, lightly crush the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns and ginger, then add them to the pan and simmer on medium heat for three minutes.
Add the tea and simmer for a further two minutes, then pour in the milk. Bring back to the boil, and turn the heat to low.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cocoa powder to a paste with a tablespoon of cold water, then add it to the pan. Simmer for another minute or two, then taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.
Strain into cups and serve – with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.
If you enjoyed this recipe, why not have a look at another great street-food recipe from Brick Lane Cookbook, home-style lamb and potato curry.