I loved having pretend tea parties when I was little. I think it was really just because I loved the little plastic tea set I had. So I would set up the little tea cups and use whatever pantry items I could get my hands on to have my makeshift tea party.
These days, I still love buying pretty tea cups but unfortunately have no time to actually host tea parties! Most days, I barely have time to grab a tea bag and a mug of hot water. But on the days when there’s a little extra time for a nice cup of tea, masala chai is always on the menu.
Masala chai is like the coffee of India. Most people will drink at least two cups of masala chai a day. Whenever you visit people, a freshly made cup of chai is always offered.
Masala means mixture of spices, while chai is sweetened tea. The foundation of masala chai is just loose black tea. What sets it apart from a regular cup of tea is the combination of spices that are simmered along with the tea.
The usual spices found in masala chai are cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom. Although I’ve found that everyone has their own preference of spices that make up masala chai. People will alter these spices based on how warm and spicy they like their chai. I’ve even heard of some people getting more exotic by incorporating flavors such as: star anise, fennel, or even lemongrass. Really it is up to you! For now, this is a pretty basic masala chai recipe. It’s similar to the the chai spice blends you find from Indian supermarkets.
½ cup water
2 tablespoons loose black tea
2-3 teaspoons sugar (adjust sweetness to your liking, this amount of sugar will make your chai on the sweeter side)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon of Dry Spice Mixture (See recipe below)
1 cup milk
In small saucepan, bring water, tea, sugar, fresh ginger and dry spice mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
Once the tea reaches a boil, add the milk, stir.
Allow the chai to heat up again. Just as the chai starts to boil, remove from heat while stirring to cool it down just a bit. Repeat this process, once or twice until the chai reaches a nice caramel color.
Strain the chai into a cup and enjoy while hot!
Dry Chai Spice Mixture
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1-2 cardamom pods
Mix together all of the dry ground spices. Store in an airtight container.