Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Recipe of the Month: Masala Chai (Spice-Infused Indian Milk Tea)

Okay so before you roll your eyes at me for featuring a 'chai' (tea) recipe, please hear me out. Not everyone can make a decent cup of tea (and note that I'm strictly talking about the Indian-style of milk tea here). I certainly couldn't for an embarrassingly long period of time. During the instances that I would have guests over and they would request for tea upon my persistence for a hot beverage, I would break into a cold sweat! Even now I don't consider myself good at making tea. Whoops! I know that is a damaging statement that questions my credibility as a recipe provider but please trust me when I say that this Masala Chai (which is made by brewing black tea with an assortment of aromatic Indian spices) turns out pretty great. My sister and parents will vouch for that!

I have been and always will be a coffee addict. I find that I am unable to start my day without coffee. I'd imagine terrible things happening to me if I don't get my caffeine fix from a cup of frothy filter coffee. Most of my teenage years and all of adult life has gone by drinking cup after cup of coffee so you can understand why I owe allegiance to this beverage. In stark contrast, my tryst with drinking tea has been a fairly recent one....probably only since the past 5 years or so. And this happens only when I am in India because there are a fair share of tea drinkers in the family and I feel rotten to be the odd one out by demanding for coffee. My mum and my sister love tea and they are almost wholly responsible for making me love this beverage. Most of the time it is regular tea that we drink but occasionally the masala version makes an appearance and that really puts a spring in my step!

I haven't yet featured a drink on the blog and I have been thinking about it for a while. For my first drink recipe, I imagined making something fancy on the lines of a mocha latte, salted caramel hot chocolate, an exotic summer cooler, a healthy smoothie or a fruity sangria. Well, clearly that didn't happen! The reason I decided to feature this recipe was because I needed to post something on the blog while holidaying in India. I had exhausted all my favours for guest posts so it time for me to get off my backside and start the ball rolling. I was scouting for something that was simple & easy to make, that was apt for the winter season, didn't require me to go grocery shopping and would highlight common household Indian pantry staple ingredients. BAM! Masala Chai! What is more popular, simpler, suitable on a cold day and quintessentially Indian than that? Moreover, I didn't have my Canon EOS 40D camera or my arsenal of trusty props so I had to settle on using my iPhone and whatever I could find available to jazz things up. I felt like a drink would be more forgiving with regard to compromised photography!

I have previously made my own spice blend for Masala Chai but it was a very random mixture of spices. I didn't have a set recipe for it. So, when I made it while I was at home in Mysore, I developed a recipe for it and tested it out on two occasions. The feedback I got was good enough for me to stick with it so here it is! Make this Masala Chai for yourself and revel in the warmth of these exotic Indian spices 

On a parting note, this will be my last post this year so wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the holidays peeps. I shall meet you again next year with more recipes, reviews, reflections and ramblings!

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Masala Chai (Spice-Infused Indian Milk Tea)

Preparation time: 5 min
Cooking time: 5-10 min
Serves: 4
Recipe type: Beverage
Recipe level: Supremely easy!

Ingredients:

For the spice blend:
1 tsp green cardamom (skinned)
1/2 tsp cloves
1-inch stick cinnamon
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg or 1/3 of a large nutmeg
2 petals star anise

Other ingredients:
2 cups water
1 tsp grated or chopped fresh ginger
3 tsp black tea powder
1.5 cups whole milk
4-6 tsp of refined sugar (or you could use any other sweetener of choice - refer notes)

Method:

1. Grind all the ingredients required for the spice blend together. You can store in an air-tight container for later use



2. In a medium-saucepan, bring the water to a boil


3. Lower the flame and add the ginger, 1 tsp of the spice blend and 3 tsp of  tea powder and simmer for 2-3 mins until the flavours infuse


4. Add the milk and sugar and further simmer for 2-3 mins until the colour of the tea intensifies


5. Take off from the heat and strain the hot tea into mugs

6. Serve along with biscuits or savoury snacks of your choice! 


Notes:
  • Depending on which tea powder you use (I use Brooke Bond Red Label Tea), you may require more or less than what is stated in the recipe. Tea powder that has been stored for a long time will gradually lose flavour so you may have to add more when compared to fresh tea powder. It is also a matter of personal preference so adjust according to your taste. 
  • The same holds good for the spice blend. You can adjust the quantity depending on your liking
  • I prefer my tea to be sweet so I use white sugar in the suggested quantity. However, you could also use sweeteners such as raw sugar, honey or condensed milk. The quantity would depend on how sweet you like your tea 
  • You can store this spice blend in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator so making a huge batch of it in advance would ease the preparation
  • The cup I have used in this recipe equals to 200 ml in volume

Cheers,


1 comment:

  1. even i have the same feeling when someone asks me for a tea! i will try ur Masala Chai today :)

    ReplyDelete

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