25 April 2009

चाई मसाला

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).


Meg said...

Something else you might try is dry roasting the spices in the pan for a few minutes or till they begin to smoke... this releases a whole other set of flavors. Some spices like cardamon only release all of their flavor with a bit of dry heat. That is why the whole milk tastes best too ... the fat helps to release some of the flavors that the water can't bring out. Yum!

JelliDonut said...

Penzey's is the best place for spices. I am lucky enough to live near an actual shop, and your post has inspired me. I'm going to try my hand at making my own chai blend.

JoVE said...

I'm not a big tea drinker but I might have to try that sometime.

geeksbewithyou said...

Thanks for this! I'll have to dig out the mortar and pestle and go on a spice hunt.

Sheepish Annie said...

Yummy!!! I like to have chai tea with vanilla soy milk in the fridge during the summer as a cool beverage. It never occurred to me to do up my own spices, though. Thanks for sharing the "right" way to do it!

Anonymous said...

You went to the U of MN vet school?

Luuworld said...

looks good!

Love This Space said...

Yum! I did discover that if you are ever in a pinch for pumpkin pie spice, your chai tea mix will work just as well!

Gregory McCormick said...

oh i love how you've laid this all out. looks good and it's so well-planned.