One of the things I learned to do properly while I was in India was make chai masala - which basically means spiced (or spicy) tea - so I thought I'd do a little photo tutorial for folks who might be interested. Everybody has their own preferred blend of spices and if you've read this blog for a bit you know that I'm not big on measuring things, so this is just a very rough guide for how it's done.
First, you pound your spices:
This blend contains cardamom, mace, peppercorns, fennel seed, allspice, clove, and Ceylon cinnamon*. And yes, I brought my mortar and pestle to work with me. What of it?
Then cut up a bit of ginger:
Only chop it up into smaller pieces than this.
Put it all in a saucepan with some water, tea leaves and sugar:
Bring to a boil:
Then add milk, preferably whole (tastes ever so much better with the fat):
While this is heating back up to just about boiling, you should be getting something ready to strain your chai into. Here at work, the pans don't have a good lip for pouring neatly and I don't have a good strainer, so I went with these:
Which fit together like so:
And now that the chai is heated back up, turn the stovetop off and strain the chai:
And if, as in this instance, you're sharing with someone else, decant into a mug or mugs of your choice:
*Most cinnamon sold in the US is cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is a different, albeit related, species which has a milder, more citrus-y flavor. I got mine from Penzey's, where it was actually cheaper than I'd have paid in a grocery store (where you'd be hard-pressed to find it anyway).