Blend Your Own Masala Chai
Mmm. Chai tea. What’s not to love? On cold rainy days I get the urge to brew a big pot of chai tea and wear fluffy socks. Ya know? There are some amazing chai blends out there, but making your own can be really fun. It’s also easy, and you probably have one or two of the spices in your cupboard right now.
Traditionally, masala chai is made with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and black tea blended with milk and honey. I like to add a bit more spice with nutmeg, star anise and sweeten it all with a touch of vanilla. It’s also traditionally brewed over a stove, but this blend is just perfect for a tea pot or press.
There isn’t any hard or fast rule when it comes to the proportion in which you use your spices, or even which ones you choose to use. If you’re not a big fan of cardamom, leave it out. I will say that with spices, the fresher, the better. But if you can’t find cinnamon quills or fresh ginger, use cinnamon powder or dried ginger powder. Add dried apple, orange peel or cranberries to make Christmas tea. Mmmm.
Masala Chai Blend
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons black tea
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
the tiniest amount of star anise possible!
Mix it all up and add to a pot of freshy boiled water. Let steep for three to four minutes. Serve with warm milk and honey. You can scale up this recipe and keep it in an airtight jar, away form direct sunlight. If your willpower is strong enough, it should last for several months.
I like to start by breaking up a couple of cinnamon quills. You could use a mortar and pestle for this, but I’m tough and macho and like splitting them open with my fingers.
Add ginger. I’m making this masala mix to use later, so I decided to opt for dried ginger chips. You can use fresh ginger, or the powdered kind. Or, you know, whatever.
Cardamom smells lovely. You can use the whole pods, or the tiny black seeds inside. Grocery stores will sometimes sell both kinds. I like the pods because they’re a pretty shade of pistachio green.
Cloves can be overpowering, so beware of using too much.
Like cloves, star anise can be really overpowering. Break off bits of the star a piece at a time. A little goes a long way!
Grate your nutmeg using a microplane, or just use the powdered kind. It has such a spicy sweet smell.
I used a black tea that had bits of vanilla through it. Then I mixed up a big bowl and scooped it into cute paper bags to give away as gifts. Now my friends can have something warm to drink the next time it’s cold and rainy!
Are you a fan of masala chai?
This post was written by Bella Blithely (contact).