I love warming up with a hot cup of tea every morning and every time I come out of the cold. Tea is one of those popular beverages that you can find anywhere you go. From China to Morocco to Britain, almost every country on the globe will have its own culture of tea-drinking and special brews. One of the countries I've been admiring from afar for its tea is India, which is second only to China for producing and consuming the most amount of tea in the world. India has a unique tea drinking culture where its tea, or chai in Hindi, is brewed with varying mixes of spices, or masala. There are no hard and fast rule to making masala chai, as there are a multitude of ways to customize your own spice combination. I started off with this masala combination from Manjula's Kitchen and, as usual, tweaked it to fit my pallet.
This recipe will make a spice mix for 10-12 cups of masala chai. You can brew your tea in milk only or a combination of milk and water, which is how I like mine. You can also sweeten it and spice it up to your liking. You can also brew your tea a little longer than 5-6 minutes to get a stronger flavour of the spices. Be careful not to let your tea boil over; once milk has reached its critical boiling point, it can bubble up within seconds boil over. Trust me, you do not want your kitchen smelling like burnt milk!
I grounded my spices in a food processor and then used a pastel and mortar to crush any remaining spices that were still whole. A pastel and mortar is probably more suitable for single-serve spices but if you're making a small batch as I did, go for the food processor or a spice grinder if you have it.
Check out the super easy recipe after the jump.
Masala (spice) mix:
24 cardamom pods
18 whole black pepper corns
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or spice grinder and pulse until mixture is grounded and well blended. Store in an airtight container. That's it!
Ingredients: (for one cup of tea)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 tsp masala spice mix (adjust according to taste)
1 tea bag OR 1 tsp loose leaf tea
Sugar to taste
1. Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat.
2. Bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. When mixture starts to boil (indicated by a layer or tiny bubbles on the surface), reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
3. Turn off heat and strain mixture into a cup. Serve hot.