I realized in the years I've been working on this tea party of a blog, I have yet to explain how I make a cup of Indian style chai. It's unfussy and will totally transport you to a roadside chai walla (vendor) scene, complete with a tarp roof, roaring gas tank-fueled fire, giant steel pots, plenty of fresh milk and an elaborate pouring technique. 5 Rupees to bliss.
Leela's Chai Tea
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
8 cardamon pods, lightly crushed
1 vanilla bean, cut into 1" pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons black loose leaf tea
In a small sauce pot, heat the milk and water to a boil. Add all other ingredients, decrease heat to simmer, put a lid on the pot and let steep for 4 minutes. Make sure you've warmed some cups (I love traditional tiffin tea cups for this) with boiling water. Once the timer dings, strain the tea mixture immediately into the warmed cups. Enjoy with a small cookie or little sweety.