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  1. Homemade Masala Chai

    Thursday, January 24, 2013

     Chai is commonly referred to as Chai tea, although this is incorrect seeing as "Chai" translated literally means "tea". So when you say Chai tea, you're actually saying "tea tea". There are many other countries that call their tea "chai". And in each of those countries, every person who makes it, makes it slightly differently with their own spin on the spices and flavors. This recipe is based off of India's Masala Chai. 

    My father grew up in India so as kids we grew up eating and drinking a lot of Indian food, and we even visited India as a family for a couple weeks when I was about 16 years old. My whole family loves Indian culture and food. I grew up with my mom making this in big batches about once a week, and my friend's mom makes it just as often. My friend, Nanda, is adopted from India and her mom makes really good Masala Chai. I actually got this recipe from her because she uses stronger flavors than my mom uses and I really like the accent of the ginger flavor in this Chai.

    Ingredients like cardamom and Tea India can be found in an Indian grocery store for less money than in a specialty store. Chicago has a large Indian population and there are many grocery stores in "Little India" that have these ingredients.

    Masala Chai

    - four cups of water
    - four cups of milk
    - one teaspoon ground cloves [or about 10 whole cloves]
    - one cinnamon stick
    - two inch piece of peeled ginger cut into slices*
    - 20-25 green cardamom pods
    - eight rounded teaspoons sugar
    - eight rounded teaspoons of Tea India [loose leaf]


    First you must lightly crush the cardamom pods to release their flavor. If you have a mortar and pestle you may use that. I use a ziploc bag and a hammer. :] I place the cardamom pods in the bag, zip it shut, place it on the floor and lightly smash the bag with the hammer until the pods look like this:

    In a large pot combine the milk, water, ground cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, and crushed cardamom pods.
    Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower it to a simmer. Let it simmer for five minutes.

    Turn off the heat and add in the sugar and Tea India. Stir to combine.
    Let it steep for ten minutes.

    Strain and serve.

    *I like lots of ginger, you can change the spices to your liking. My mom makes Chai without cinnamon because my dad doesn't like it, so feel free to change it up. Cardamom is a must though, it's what gives the Chai it's special flavor.


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