Tuesday, March 4, 2014
How To Make a Great Cup of Masala Chai
Whatever you call it, though, you can be sure that the heady spices and warm milk will make for a soothing and delicious drink, just right for these last cold, wet days of Winter. There are a few ways to make this, ranging from making a chai tea concentrate syrup that can be added to warm milk, to adding whole spices in with the tea, to using chai tea teabags.
When it comes to selecting your tea, a good strong variety is what you're looking for - some people even suggest that this is a good use for cheaper black teas, such as Lipton's, along with the necessary spices.
I may experiment with some of these other variations and share them here later - today, I'm showing what I did with what I had, which was a bag of loose Black Chai Tea with Assam tea, along with a typical chai masala spice blend that included cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cloves and black pepper, along with a couple extras including calendula and vanilla.
makes 4-6 servings
2 tablespoons loose chai tea
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar or honey (or to taste)
1 non-reactive bowl that can tolerate heat or 2nd saucepan, about the same size
1 strainer large enough to set over the bowl
Put the loose chai tea blend into the bottom of one of the saucepans, and add the water. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and steep for 5 minutes.
Return the strained tea back to the saucepan, turn the heat onto medium low and add the sugar or honey, stirring until it is completely dissolved.
Add the milk to the tea and stir to blend. Gently heat without letting the milk get so hot it scalds, about 5 minutes.
Serve in mugs and enjoy!
I like mine with a lot of milk, and done this way it has the body of a good cup of hot chocolate, but you could reduce the milk down to half as much as the water and still have a very rich, flavorful cup of tea. Absolutely, play with this recipe and vary the spices, the milk, and the tea amounts to suit your own tastes.
You'll find that this is the sort of marvelous beverage that everyone loves so much that they each have very strong opinions about the One True method of preparation.
As for me, I'll let them fight it out - I'll be too busy curled up under a warm throw blanket with a good book and a warm and delicious cup of chai.
Now that you're all relaxed, take a moment to read our review of Alchemy & Ashes and enter our giveaway for a gift set of handmade soap and lip balm - pampering doesn't get any better than this!
A couple notes: sweetened chai is traditional, but if you're avoiding sweeteners by all means, try it without! I'd favor raw honey over sugar because it is both delicious and nutritious, but if you're trying to avoid high-glycemic sweeteners, you may find a little dash of stevia works for you - it is a natural plant-based sweetener.
Additionally, I think this would work very well with either almond or coconut milk if you're avoiding dairy. Our milk is non-homogenized whole milk from a local area farm, but if you don't have access to something similar, you'll get better nutrients and a creamier taste if you go for coconut or almond milk than if you choose low fat/skim milk.
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