Masala chai is a spiced version of the typical Indian milk tea. As with much of Indian cuisine, the exact mix of dry spices varies greatly and is often handed down in families from one generation to the next.
- 100 grams of powdered ginger
- 25 grams cloves
- 100 grams whole black peppercorns
- 60 grams cinnamon, broken small, or 40 grams ground
- 1/2 seed of nutmeg, crushed
- 35 grams of green cardamom pods
Combine all of the spices and blend well in an electric grinder. You only need a small quantity for each cup of chai; store the rest for later. A full recipe will keep you stocked full of chai for months. Procedure for making ginger powder:
1. Select good quality ginger and wash to remove soils and other foreign objects. 2. Cut into thin slices. Spread evenly in trays. 3. Dry under the sun or in oven under moderate heat or 70ºC. 4. Pulverize using blender or grinder. 5. Pack and seal tightly.
Ingredients (per cup)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon dried tea leaves - to be traditional, a strong Indian tea such as an Assam is best.
- pinch of masala mixture
- 1/2 cup milk
- Boil water and milk.
- Add sugar, tea leaves and masala until the mixture becomes dark (about 5-10 minutes).
- The longer you boil, the stronger the chai.
- Strain into teacups to serve.
- Let the remaining solids cool and sprinkle them on your plants for an excellent fertiliser.
- Tea masala or garam masala from a store can be used to get around the masala mixture process, however preground spices lose their flavor over time.
- In step one, boil the water and milk separately, and in step two add the tea leaves and masala to the boiling water, boiling until the tea is as strong as you like. Only then add the milk to the mix. This can speed up the process without effecting the flavor. This method is often used by restaurants to serve chai in large quantities quickly as orders are taken.
- Optionally turn off the heat in the end, cover and let sit for about five minutes for a richer flavor.
- Try adjusting the ratio of milk to water. For a richer milky tea, try two parts milk to one part water.
- Leave out the sugar for a more adult flavor. Sugar can be added while drinking if so desired.
- Try other combinations of South Asian spices. Each region in which chai is commonly available has its own popular or traditional spice mix. One optional addition to masala chai is fennel seeds.
- Add a piece of a lemongrass leaf (called lili cha in Gujarati), while the water is still boiling (before adding milk). This gives a nice flavor to the tea. Mint,fresh ginger and/or holy basil (tulsi) can also be added.