Happy New Year to our wonderful readers and followers!
Like our mornings, let’s start this year off with a steaming hot cup of Indian spiced tea ‘Masala Chai’.
Few Indian culinary specialties have a larger worldwide fan following than the well-known Indian tea preparation ‘Masala Chai’, better known as just ‘Chai’. In the past decade, this global addiction to Chai has gone through the roof, making it the ‘chicken tikka‘ of this century.
In Western countries, store-bought Chai is sold as a liquid version of Indian Masala Chai, in tetra-packs which can be stored in the refrigerator.
Although many Indian homes keep a ground Chai spice-blend in their pantry; traditionally the Chai brew is always made fresh for consumption.
However, since our post on Ginger Spiced Chai and my mom’s interview with an Indian ‘Chaiwalla’ (roadside tea vendor), a common request from readers has been for a homemade spiced Chai recipe; preferably one that keeps well in the refrigerator, to be consumed as required.
I say, our modern lives require modern twists to old classics, and today’s Chai recipe does just that.
Made using traditional techniques and 3 of my favorite ‘Chai’ spices, our simple cup of Masala Chai can be consumed fresh or stored in the refrigerator for future consumption.
Either way, nothing beats a hot steaming cuppa on a cold winter day!
Makes 4 cups
4 ½ cups water
2 cinnamon sticks, two inches each
1 teaspoon whole cardamom
1 teaspoon crushed nutmeg (about ½ a nutmeg)
2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea*
For consumption, add:
Milk, as per choice**
Sugar or sweetener, as per taste
* Adjust loose tea quantity based on the brand used, its strength and your preference.
**Note on Milk in Chai preparations: For a strong cup of Chai, use a 2:1 ratio of Chai mixture to milk. For a milkier version, try equal parts of each. A Chai-latte has 1:2 ratio of Chai mixture to milk.
Directions to Make the Masala Chai Mixture for Refrigeration:
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the whole cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to release their oils.
In a sauce pan, bring the water with whole crushed spices to a rolling boil, and let it continue boiling for another minute.
Then add the loose-leaf black tea. Once it reaches a boiling point again, switch off the flame and let the tea brew for 5 minutes.
Strain the Masala Chai into a storage jar and refrigerate for 5-7 days.
To consume the Chai, heat refrigerated Chai mixture along with the desired amount of milk and sugar in a sauce pan. When the tea is heated through, pour into a cup and enjoy the delicious hot brew.
Don’t plan to refrigerate the Masala Chai Mixture? Here’s how to make a fresh cup of this Masala Chai:
Add the desired amount of milk and sugar to the water along with crushed spices. Bring this mixture to a boil together. Then add loose-leaf tea to the spiced-milk mixture. Turn off the flame once it reaches a boil and let the Chai brew for a few minutes. Strain the tea before consuming.
Savor steaming hot Masala Chai with your favorite cookie and savory trail mix.