Homemade Masala Chai Tea

Simple, easy recipe.

Recipie: 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp of black tea, traditionally Assam, heaping
  • 6-9 Cardamom pods, green, whole
  • 1 Tbsp of Ginger, dried
  • 2 tsp peppercorns, freshly cracked for maximum flavor
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1-2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cups of water
  • Milk- amounts vary depending on brew method.

English brew method:

  1. Mix the ingredients together.
  2. Add the contents to a large teabag and tie up with string.  Also, this is one of the few teas, a tea ball is not the best option as the small pieces of cracked pepper, and other bits will seep out of the ball making a grit in the bottom of the teacup.
  3. Make a pot of tea however you normally do with a teabag.
  4. Serve with milk.

Traditional method:

Milk and water should add up to 6 cups, after being reduced. Traditionally, one part water to 1/4 – 1/2 parts milk.

  1. Simmer the spices in water until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the loose leaf tea. Simmer for about 5 minutes until a dark rich color.
  3. Add the milk and remaining water to have a total of 6 cups of liquid.
  4. Heat until steaming, strain and serve.

Traditional Variations:

Kashmiri Chai: Green tea (instead of black tea), traditionally Gunpowder green, mixed with almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and occasionally saffron.

Noon Chai: Brewed with salt, pistachios, almonds, cardamom, and cinnamon and a pinch of baking soda to enhance the pink color, served in a samavar, a sort of copper tea pot, and eaten with with nuts, dried fruit and Kashmiri breads if you happen to have any on hand.  Traditional served in Pakistan on special occasions.

Other spices:

  • Star Anise
  • Fennel
  • Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Saffron
  • Almonds (traditional cooking method only)
  • Pistacios (traditional cooking method only)
  • Mace
  • Black Cardamom
  • Rose petals, (add with looseleaf tea, in the traditional cooking method)
  • Chili
  • Coriander
  • Cumin

Spices can be added in various forms: fresh or dried, whole or powdered.  Different quantities are needed with different forms, and some spices taste very different fresh vs dried. One thing to take note of is that fresh ginger has a very different flavor than dried ginger.  One thing to not is that powdered spices are hard to strain out of the tea using the traditional method of cooking and oftentimes the spices accumulate as sediment at the bottom of your tea cup.  If you are using powdered, a tea bag should be able to hold them in.

Experiment with the spices as much as you want. I like to experiment here and there for something new but often times stick to the basics.  I generally add more cardamom, ginger and black pepper and leave out the cloves as my mother cannot have them.

 

 

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Mixing Your Own Tea

I was asked the other day if I make my own tea.  My answer was, “Yes and no.” Obviously I do not grow my own tea, but I do scent my tea.  I have various herbs, as well as different types of tea which I mix. So tonight I mixed a decaf black tea (P&G Tips) with some edible lavender buds.  And suddenly I have lavender black tea.

You can blend your own teas and keep the mixed combinations on hand. This makes sense with complicated blends like chai where it is not as simple as some mixes. I personally like to keep the various parts on hand and mix them when I make the cup of tea. That way I have the most flexibility.  No directions are really needed but here they are nonetheless.

Directions: 

  1. Boil water.
  2. Add a “base” tea. This can be loose leaf tea or in tea bags. No matter.
  3. Choose any favor or scents to it. Anything edible and plant-based can be added. Get creative.  Add the amount you think will work. You can always tweak later.
  4. Brew until the strength is to your liking.
  5. Strain tea.
  6. Enjoy from a teapot or pour it directly into the teacups

Tea’s: 

  • black tea (decaf & regular)
  • green tea (decaf & regular)
  • white tea  (decaf & regular)
  • chamomile
  • Darjeeling  (decaf & regular)
  • Earl Grey  (decaf & regular)

“scents” to mix in:

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Mint (spearmint & peppermint)
  • Lemon peel, lemon verbena or lemon balm
  • Chai spices (ginger, white pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon) and any comb
  • Rose hips
  • Jasmine

Some combinations I particularly like:

  • Jasmine Green Tea
  • Lavender Earl Grey
  • Earl Grey with Lavender, Rose and Rosemary
  • London Fog (Earl Grey with Lavender and Vanilla)
  • Chamomile, rose & rosemary
  • Chamomile Lemon (verbena, blam or peel)
  • Ginger Black tea
  • Lemon rosemary chamomile
  • Cinnamon cardamom black tea
  • Chamomile mint
  • Chai black tea
  • so many more options… get creative

Enjoy!!