FOOD AND TRAVEL

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Masala Chai - Indian Spiced Milk Tea



Tea to most Indians is like coffee is to the Western world even though coffee is more famous in Southern India. A simple cardamom studded chai is a daily affair in our lives.

But as the winters walk in, the warmth of spices takes the daily chai to a different level. Ask an Indian, and they will leap at the thought of having freshly made steaming tea on the street stalls on a chilly day.



I need tea to start my day. More precisely, I need a strong, slightly sweet and milky tea to get me out of the bed. I bend towards Turkish coffee for evenings but I can vouch for most Indians needing tea for more than two times a day (read M) .


I for one can't do with packaged masala tea powders. I think it tastes like crap. I don't even make masala tea powder at home. No I don't think that makes the cut for me either. There are certain disadvantages which I see with making masala tea powder at home. Firstly although I can never get bored tea in general, but I do like different types of masala tea everyday.


Someday very gingery calls my name and some days I want fennels seeds and someday I want alot of warmth from cinnamon and other times I want it all. Using masala powder would mean I stick with the same spice mix each day.  Secondly, well okay there isn't anything secondly but you get the point.


Depending on my mood, what I have on hand, I keep switching up the spices in the masala chai. Everything keeps changing but one thing, cardamom. Here's an ideal spice mix for two cups of tea. Remember what I said before, play around, use what you like, increase what you want, decrease what you don't like. Its your baby! It might as well be your trade mark. 

Masala Chai - Indian Spiced Milk Tea 
Click here for printable recipe
Serves 2


Ingredients
2 cups water
1 cup milk *
1 1/4 tbsp Indian black tea 
Sugar to taste

Spice mix 
2 cardamom pods (cracked)
2 whole black peppers
2 whole all spice berries
1 petal star anise
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 inch fresh ginger (shredded)
1/2 stick cinnamon
Smallish pinch of nutmeg
Dry rose petals

Note


* Some people prefer way more milky tea than that and make equal proportions of water and milk. Some even use more milk than water. More milk leads to milder tea so choice is yours.

Method

Bring the water, tea, sugar and spices to a boil. Depending on preference and strength required determine the time for which you boil the tea. I prefer about 5-10 minutes. If you are looking for a milder tea you can add the tea after the first boil.

Add milk and boil for another 5 minutes. Strain and serve hot with Indian biscuits or biscotti.

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47 comments

  1. Nice Kulsum. Gorgeous photos. I like the shade of the Masala chai too!! btw now following you on stumble upon too!! Very sharp looking post!! Great job!!

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  2. chai, rusk, and some gossip w/ a good friend or two is all you need. :)

    wonderful pics, did husbo help, holding the teapot? ;)

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  3. I'd never thought to make my own chai tea... but it sounds so comforting! Great post!

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  4. Yes he did. He calls himself spot boy when he WORKS for me. And yes, chai, rusk and gossip, ultimate Indian get together!

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  5. I love masala chai too, but I brew it with rooibos. The tea rusks look so appetizing as well.

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  6. This is the kind A loves and I do not like :-) This is a wonderful post and some crisp pictures..

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  7. Am I the only one who HATES tea with a passion?! Ok going to hide in a corner now! I have had a couple if emails from people asking me how to make masala chai....now I know where to send them :)

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  8. Marla {family fresh cooking}February 18, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    I love a sweet, milky chai tea too. Yes, it has got to be a home brewed. can you believe those heavily sweetened powdered ones - ewwww. xo

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  9. Tanvi_SinfullySpicyFebruary 18, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    Somehow I knew u ll put fennel in your chai..I knw you love them..have seen extensively in your posts.Lovely post..a good cuppa masala chai is something I can have any time of the day or night for that matter.

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  10. I really like the pictures Kulsum! Especially the one where you can see the hand about to dip the biscotti. I need to make a non-caffeinated version of this. I love chai spices.

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  11. I'm not a chai fan but I do want to tell you this...you're photos in the last few posts have been awesome!!!

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  12. Thank you Sylvie thank you for your tips the other day, they helped! I'm glad you like the pictures :-)

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  13. hehehe, well he better get used to this role as spot boy! :)

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  14. oh you know how much I wish I had this right now? :)

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  15. Love to have hot chai anytime especially in winters and this chai is looking gorgeous. Will try this awesome recipe right tomorrow morning...cheers Kulsum !!!

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  16. I love home made masala chai in winter too! Beautiful photos.

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  17. Mmm this reminds me of the chai my Gujarati best friend would make all the time. Just the smell alone would make me feel better instantly. Thanks for sharing your lovely tea!

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  18. I've only started liking milky teas recently and slowly falling in love. This recipe sounds wonderful!

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  19. I've been lucky enough to have friends make it properly for me and I agree, the powders and packages can't compare. I haven't yet made it for myself. Thank you for the inspiration and lovely photos.

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  20. god, this looks lovely! i just picked up some fennel, star anise and allspice from the store yesterday so i'm going to try this out today. Have everything else except the rose petals. Quite ashamed - have never really had proper chai before and my parents are from India!

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  21. I love Chai so much. Your pictures are really beautiful.

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  22. I love chai tea. Your photographs are stunning!

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  23. This looks very comforting. I love dunking in the tea ;)

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  24. Came here through IndianSimmer. Gorgeous pics and you have made a simple tea look so very tempting!

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  25. tea, milk and cardamom is a daily ritual in our house , love it and i shall try your recipe soon

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  26. I used to make something similar for my parents when I was younger - they had a very specific recipe that us kids had to follow to a "T." You are totally right - Indian people don't joke around when it comes to their chai.

    It looks delicious!

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    Replies
    1. Will you share your parent's recipe?

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  27. first time to ur blog....beautiful clicks...

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  28. I love chai but have never made it at home! This looks like it would be super fun to try!!

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  29. This post makes me feel all warm and happy! I *love* a good marsala chai cooked on the stove top! Good to know that there isn't just ONE recipe, but you can play around with the spices! (before, I was confused when i googled the recipe and seems like everyone uses diff spices!)

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  30. Looks amazing! Beautiful pictures. Unfortuantely I don't have all the spices I need to make it tonight!

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  31. found your blog through foodpixels on twitter and your photos are simply stunning - not to mention your delicious recipes. Glad I found you!

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  32. Thanks to Dario :-) Thats kind of you. Thank you.

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  33. who can compete these posts with expansive photos? My preference is chay with a single flavor - ginger, cardmom. Better still, made with leaf from Darjeeling, Assam,.. The one I tasted in Calcutta once is the best. They say, what is available in most stores is just third rate. It is all powdery, dust, a mixture from all sorts of plantations. Ideally, if one can get tea leaves from a single plantation, then you can brew the best tea with a nice flavor. Tea still beats coffee in some aspects - you can make ginger tea or honey tea to relieve sore throat, cough etc.

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  34. Very good recipe. Very delicious and I found it very calming.

    I added a tbsp of tumeric as my indian doctor here in Australia takes a tsp of tumeric with honey every morning and swears by its antibacterial properties.

    Thanks for sharing. Love ur site :)

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  35. Hey!

    So glad you tried and enjoyed the recipe. I don't think I ever added turmeric in my tea but my mom would often give us hot milk with turmeric and little saffron specially when we were sick. It works great as home remedy. Thank you for your words :-)

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  36. My parents drank only tea but some how I never acquired the taste. I loved my coffee. something changed when I got pregnant! I didn't want to drink coffee and switched to tea. I never looked back! Now my life is incomplete without tea! Though I always drank coffee I was never really addicted to it but now with tea it's a different story :( I am ADDICTED. I like my tea with very little milk and sugar and especially with fresh ginger!! heaven :)

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  37. was wondering what indian people feel towards green tea? what is indian people prefernce towards it?

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  38. After 5 nice trips to India hosted by my Indian friend, have tasted many of these dishes. Brings back happy memories.
    Thank you

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  39. Hi,
    you have really a nice blog: wanna please add my website about Tea Maker in your blogroll?
    Greetings

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  40. I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me,and I am completely satisfied with your website.All comments and articles are very useful and very good.
    Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in turn you are sharing with each one!…
    Spices

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  41. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  42. I am not a complete chai person. Period. In my household we cook the tea in water, pour it in a cup and then add the milk...my mothers' side of the family that is and that is Karachi... However, my dadiyal or fathers' side of the family up in the hills of Pakistan enjoys traditional 'doodh-patti' or milk tea..n i love it, specially on chilly days and was hoping to master it..So I'm going to give this one a try and satisfy my tastebuds!

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  43. Masala tea is my favourite beverage and i can't ever get enough of it especially during rainy and winter season.A biscuit or toast makes masala chai even more merrier

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  45. Most of the people not interested to take spices in food for those kind of people I always used to recommend adding those spices it tea.

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  46. I tried it today......niceeeeeeeee...thanks !

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