Despite the summer heat the past few days, I just can’t stop drinking my Indian masala tea or “chai”. There is something special, almost nostalgic about it and I have to admit – it kind of makes me feel good. The funny thing is I hardly drank any tea when younger. My parents would make 3 or 4 pots of masala tea a day and ask me all the time if I wanted a cup, and the answer would be a blatant “NO!” But now, I just love it! Maybe I just needed to “grow up!” :O)
As a matter of fact, my husband and I started up a “nightly chai time” ritual this year that we try our best to keep up as soon as our kids are in bed. It gives us both time to unwind after a long day and spend time with each other watching TV or just talking. So its a win-win right? A cup of delicious masala chai and some special time with my hubby! :O)
My kids have been known to even sneak a sip every now and then – which makes me feel like I’m passing along a little bit of tradition/culture to my babies. Actually, the mom in me really hopes they still like to drink chai when they get older and will want to drink it with their siblings or even spouses in the future!
What I love about masala chai is the fragrance of it. It just has a warmth and sweet richness to it that comes from all the wonderful spices and flavors put into it. You can smell the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, anise, cardamom, and other flavors steaming out of your chai cup – its so amazing! For me, it’s really comforting and just a perfect ending to a busy day. There are many variations of masala tea ranging from extra sweet to extra spicy which is really the beauty of it.
There is no “perfect” recipe for masala chai – just the recipe that is passed on from one household to another.
The sweeter the better is how we like it at our house!
Here is my version of Masala Tea that I’d like to share with you – its a big hit in our home and I hope it will be in your home too!
Try this in your teapot:
– 2 cups of milk (whole or any type)
– 1 cup of water
– 2 Tbsp of loose-leaf tea (try using an Indian tea Wagh Bakhri, Brooke Bond, Tea India, etc.)
– 1/4 inch knob of fresh ginger
– 1 stick of cinnamon
– 4 or 5 cloves (optional)
– 1/8 tsp of Chai masala powder (I recommend Laxmi Brand Tea Masala)
– 5 or 6 cardamom pods (whole)
– 1 tsp of finely chopped mint
– 3 to 4 Tbsp of brown sugar
– 1 or 2 Tbsp of vanilla essence/flavor (optional)
1. Boil milk and water till hot, but not bubbling.
2. Add in all your spices and tea and allow to boil for about 10mins on low/medium heat till it starts to bubble a bit (keep stirring every few minutes to avoid any overflow)
3. Pour into cup and strain with small sieve to catch ingredients.
4. Add more sugar as needed
Enjoy hot or chilled over ice!
AND for an added bonus, have some chai with some hot samosas OR on a cold night, or actually any night – dip your cookies into the tea. It’s soo good!!