Masala Chai recipe: spices, milk and tea – what's not to love?
How do you make a 'proper' Masala Chai?
In recent years we have seen the uprise of chai type flavours entering our western beverages (hot or cold) and food. But what are its true roots and the traditional way of making it?
Masala chai or cha, as us Punjabis would say, is essentially a mix of spices which helps enhance the flavour of just ordinary black tea. A concoction of cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, fennel seeds and ginger all help create flavour and warmth to just ordinary tea. In India, tea is often served by the side of the roads by people known as Chaiwala, which means tea people in Hindi. The cha is served in little clay pots.
Cha is without a doubt a staple of any Indian household drinking near enough (well in my house anyway) three cups a day. Cha is served at any occasion and is deemed as India’s national drink.
- 150ml of water
- 2 cardamom pods separate the shell and the seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 3cm stick of cinnamon
- As much as needed milk
- 80ml of evaporated milk
- 2 peppercorns
- Optional sugar (to taste)
- 1 inch of ginger
- 2 cloves
- 2 teabags
- Using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder (or if you haven’t got either a coffee grinder will do the same job) grind the cloves, cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns and cinnamon until it the larger spices start to break down. With the ginger, you want to crush so it also starts to break down.
- In a deep saucepan put in your water tea bags, your spice powder, the cardamom shell and the ginger.
- Boil these ingredients on high flame and leave for 3 minutes.
- Once you see the water boiling rapidly add-in the 80ml of evaporated milk and then add in the normal milk until you reach your desired colour of tea.
- Now, wait until the tea reaches its first boil on a high flame.
- When this has happened turn your flame down to the lowest setting and allow for the tea to boil for a further 5 minutes.
- Finally pour in your tea and serve with biscuits. If you wish to make the tea slightly sweet add in sugar.
The sugar can also be added in at an earlier stage and if you are unable to get evaporated milk, just use normal milk.