How to make Masala Chai
This is the simplest masala chai recipe I know how to make. Compared to the street side chai you would get in India my recipe differs in the fact that mine is less sweet and has a strong black tea and masala flavour (especially the ginger). The wonderful thing about masala chai is that it’s easy to adjust to your own taste and it’s fun to experiment with.
So let’s get started!
Ingredients (for 1 mug)
- 1/2 mug of water
- 1/2 mug of high fat fresh milk (I use 3.5%)
- 1/2 thumb (a unit I made up, but is the approximate size of a thumb) of ginger
- 3-6 cardamom pods (depending on the freshness and size of the product you have)
- 1 hand of Brook Bond Taj Mahal tea
- 1 hand of course-unrefined sugar
- heat source (eg: stove)
- small pot
- chopping board
Cut the ginger into a few pieces and then crush/pound it so that the juices are flowing out. Using the flat of the knife blade crush the cardamom pods so the seeds inside come out. Place these and the water into a pot and bring it to a boil.
Just before a boil is reached throw in the tea. If the boil is too intense, turn the heat down. Too much heat applied to the tea will cause it to taste overly bitter. The tea should naturally spread like in the pictures above.
After about 2 minutes, add the milk and set the heat to around medium. Add a hand of sugar now (I’ve forgotten to add sugar a few times so I just try to make it part of the routine at this point). Also remember that you can always add sugar later. Since I tend to have a sweet snack with my chai, I like to have a less sweet chai to let the dessert compliment the chai.
After several minutes the mixture will start to foam and rise up (I like to call this the hot break which comes from beer brewing). This means that the proteins in the milk have become denatured (ie: cooked) and this will give you the lovely brown skin on your chai. Turn down the heat and let the chai continue to brew for a few minutes longer in a soft rolling boil.
Let the tea cool for a minute and transfer it directly to a mug through a strainer.
Enjoy your masala chai and the fact that your garbage can will smell awesome for days!
In order to make more chai, it’s just a matter of multiplying all of the ingredients. The limit is usually the size of the pot. It can be hard to make a large batch when the pot is more than 3/4 full.
Other ingredients you can use to spice things up are:
- pepper corns
- star anise
- different chai (though I find Brook Bond Taj Mahal makes for the most consistent results)
What I love of masala chai is that you have an easy method for trying out many different flavours!
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