Masala Chai – Indian Spiced Milk Tea

January 5, 2016
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Masala Chai Indian Tea

When I traveled to India a couple of years ago, I got in touch with masala chai. In India, “masala” is a mix of spices and “chai” means tea. Of course, I’ve known this kind of spiced milk tea before my trip to India, but I’ve never really been a fan of these intense smelling tea bags that are widely available in supermarkets and neither of their result. In India, I drank a lot of masala tea; the spice mix tasted slightly different every time, sometimes the chai had a more intense cinnamon flavor, sometimes the cardamom was dominant. Same with the milk: I drank masala chai’s that were watery; some were creamier, depending on the amount of milk added. I even tasted chai with goat milk and for that I know: I am definitely not a fan of masala chai with goat milk.

Ever since this trip, I put some effort into making my own masala tea. Probably once a year I get really enthusiastic about it and try a new spice-mix. But so far the results have never been mind-blowing. Finally, Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe turned it around. Of course, Madhur Jaffrey! I read an article on Food52 about her making masala chai, so I simply had to try her recipe. I finally got what I was looking for: A very balanced spiced tea, which is not too intense and overwhelming. I tweaked her recipe, of course, but only after I followed her recipe exactly for a few times. For the Food52 article, she adapted her own recipe for masala chai, so I think she would be ok ;-)

Masala Chai Indian Spiced Tee

The mayor change I made is the addition of salt. I think a tiny amount of salt is essential in this tea; it simply results in a more balanced beverage. I also added fennel seeds and star anise, which add a hint of an earthy and robust flavor. I cut back the sugar and milk and voilà: This is my masala chai. Enjoy!

Masala Tea Spiced Tea

I usually add some frothed milk for a special treat. If you don’t own a milk frother (neither do I), you can simply shake the hot milk in a (clean jam) jar for a minute. Make sure to close the lid tightly and wrap a tea towel around the jar since it will get hot during shaking. The milk froth isn’t really dense but it does the job. On the picture above, I used this method using whole milk. Or you can try the Kitchn’s version.

This recipe was adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s masala chai on Food52.

Masala Chai – Indian Spiced Milk Tea

Serving Size: 3-4 cups

Masala Chai – Indian Spiced Milk Tea

Ingredients

    Spices:
  • 1-inch (2-3 cm) stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 green cardamom pods, husks removed - you will only need the dark seeds (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, crushed (or 1/4 teaspoon dry, ground ginger)
  • Optional, but recommended spices:
  • 2 points of a star anise
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 3 cups (720 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk (optional: plus more hot milk for frothing, see note)
  • 3 teaspoons brown or white sugar (for moderately sweet)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

Instructions

  1. Add 3 cups of water to a medium saucepan.
  2. Throw in the spices and heat the water until boiling. Let the spices simmer at low heat for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the black tea and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add milk, sugar, and salt. Reheat until almost simmering, then take the pot off the heat and pour it through a fine mesh strainer into a tea pot or mugs.

Notes

I like my masala chai with frothed milk. For each cup, froth 2 tablespoons of hot milk with a milk frother. If you don't own one, you can simply shake the hot milk in a (clean jam) jar for a minute. Make sure to close the lid tightly and wrap a tea towel around the jar since it will get hot during shaking. The milk froth isn’t really dense but it does the job. On the pictures above, I used this method using whole milk.

https://www.lilvienna.com/masala-chai-indian-spiced-milk-tea/

Did you follow this recipe? You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to enjoy@lilvienna.com
Masala Chai – Indian Spiced Milk Tea was last modified: February 1st, 2016 by Ursula

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