Yesterday I booked a holiday to the States and because of this I am currently in a bit of an excited travel frenzy. This got me thinking about my last big trip, to India, which was all sorts of amazing. While I was there, I drank a lot of Chai Tea, delicious and wonderfully sweet tea flavoured with a collection of spices, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, pepper and cloves.
Each family and restaurant seems to have a slight variation on the Chai Tea recipe, which is made up of a spice mix, tea leaves, water, milk and sugar, some have more ginger spiciness, some were milky and a few were so sweet your spoon would stand up in them! The tastiest cup I remember having was on a train station platform very early on a cold morning, they were serving the tea in tiny paper cups for a few cents, I would have stood there all day having cup after cup if I wasn’t worried the train was going to take off without me.
I was lucky enough to be shown how to make chai tea while in India, and so I now make it at home sometimes using the following recipe:
Masala Chai Spice Mix
I make this up myself, but it might be possible to buy it premixed too. It is fun to make yourself as you can adjust the ratios based on which flavours you like, this version has a cardamom bias!
50% Ginger (5 teaspoons)
30% Green Cardamom (3 teaspoons)
5% Black Pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
5% Cloves (1/2 teaspoon)
5% Nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon)
5% Mace (1/2 teaspoon)
Buy ground spices or grind them up with a mortar and pestle, mix together. Only a little is needed to make a cup of chai, the spice powder can be stored in a jar.
Masala Chai Tea
Makes 6 cups
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon masala chai spice powder
3 teaspoons tea leaves (assan tea, or any black tea will work)
4 teaspoons sugar (or more if you like it sweet)
2 cups milk
Put the water in a pot and bring it to the boil
When the water starts to boil, add the chai spice
After a minute, add the tea and sugar
After another minute, add the milk
Once the tea comes back to the boil, boil up and down 5 or 6 times on low and then high heat (this is a pain if you are using an electric stove, just a couple of times will be fine)
Take the pot off the heat, cover and stand for a couple of minutes
Strain into cups