Masala Chai (Spiced Tea)

One of the things I love most about India is the abundance of Chai.  It’s there in the morning, in the afternoon, at the station, while shopping for clothes – pretty much everywhere.  Masala Chai is the slightly spiced black tea you find all over India and it’s a staple in most Indian homes.  Here’s my recipe.

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Ingredients (Enough for 2 mugs):

High Quality Black Tea (1 teaspoon/tea bag per person)
1cm of Ginger, grated
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 green cardamom pods (shells removed)
1 mug of milk
1.5 mugs of water

Method:

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Start by warming your water and milk in a saucepan – don’t do it too fast or you’ll burn your milk.

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While your liquid is warming, crush your cardamom seeds to a fine powder.  You can also add in other spices, like peppercorns and cloves, but I find them too strong – I prefer a milder, aromatic flavour.

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Add your ground cardamom and cinnamon to the milk and water.

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When the liquid starts to simmer, add in your grated ginger…

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…and your tea.  I’m using a really fine black tea that was given to me by my Sri Lankan PhD student, Lee – I’m sure my family would lynch me for using Sri Lankan tea, but it has a great flavour – but is very, very fine (kinda goes everywhere!)

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Let your chai start to boil and keep it at a gentle, rolling boil – don’t over heat it, or it’ll overflow as well as burn the tea. Leave it gently rolling for about 3 mins.  This is also the time to add in some sugar – my father’s family are sugar and buffalo farmers – so, the chai I grew up with is sweet and creamy – chai tends to be sweet, so don’t by shy with sugar in your chai.

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Take your chai off the heat and pour it through a tea strainer.

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I like to pass the chai between a couple of cups, back and forth, a few times aerate it a bit – it leaves it with a smoother texture.

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Final step, serve it to someone you love…enjoy!

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