12 January 2006

Masala Chai

Every once in a while I need a kick in the pants to get me going and Heather at Eating for One gave me the proverbial boot I needed. I am, of course writing about using cardamom in cooking.

I mean, the title of this blog is "Confessions of a Cardamom Addict"...so it only makes sense that I'd be writing about it in one way or another. My big problem is I get distracted and food is such a nice distraction.

Anyway, I'm going to try and be a good girl and start posting cardamom recipes...I'll even go out on a limb and commit to pixels one recipe or one article a month (I say this now, but let's see if I can keep it up). I'm planning to restart my primers, and I hope to have one on cardamom in the spring when I'lll be between classes and might be able to take some time off work.

Anyway, as Heather pointed out, McCormicks listed masala chai spices as a 2006 flavour trend...and of course, cardamom is one of those spices.

Every Indian home has a different variation of masala tea--Mum's is different than mine, my various Aunties have different blends as well. To tell you the truth, my blend keeps changing depending upon my mood. If you've never made masala tea before, try this one (my current variant) and then change it to suit your palate.

Get a good black tea that you like to drink on its own (with milk and sugar): if you don't have any looseleaf on hand, use one sachet per person. If you are making this for more than two people, use one rounded teaspoon's worth of tea per person and adjust the spices accordingly.

This recipe is made with two per cent milk. If you favour skim or one per cent, you may want to decrease the amount of water used and use more milk; conversely if you use homo (full-fat) milk you might want to use less milk and more water. If you only have pre-ground spices, you can use those, but be aware that they may not have the potency or pungency of whole spice.

Masala Chai
180ml milk
180ml water
2 whole cardamom pods
5cm cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 star anise
1 thinnish slice fresh ginger
2 whole black peppercorns
2 rounded tsp black tea

Lightly crush together the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and peppercorns.

Tip the contents into a small saucepan and add the remaining ingredients (milk, water, ginger and black tea). Bring to a boil and allow to steep to desired strength.

Strain through a very fine mesh seive into a pot or directly in to cups/mugs. Sweeten to taste with honey, sugar or vanilla sugar.

This amount is enough for my favourite mug (about it holds the equivalent of a large Timmy's (medium coffee in the US)), but will do for two dainty cups.

Spices pictured above: clockwise, starting at the top: fresh gingerroot, black peppercorns, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and star anise; centre: whole cardamom pods.




Anonymous said...

Jasmine, what a beautiful plate of spices! Thanks for this recipe; I'm getting more "into" tea, you've certainly made me want to run to The House of Spice and stock up goodies to make my own chai. But "dainty cups"? ... [snork] ... oh please!

By the way, thanks for the tag for The Seven Meme. It was my first meme, and it was fun!

jasmine said...

Not a problem...I've never heard of The House of Spice...mind you, I really don't need it as Mum's cousins own a cardamom plantation and various other relatives grow other spices or manage various plantations.

Eventually, when I get the scanner hooked up I'll post pictures from my last visit--lots of spice and food piccies...


Anonymous said...

I just recently discovered cardamom and and made my first cup of chai not long ago. I love it! I look forward to trying your recipe.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe, Jasmine! I have to admit I don't often cook with cardamom, but now I definitely have to buy it as I have your lovely recipe to try!

Great blog!

Anonymous said...

Lovely spices. I cannot wait to see cardamom recipes, I am very curious particularly with green cardamom.

And this tea, great idea. Thanks for the tip.

sailu said...

Jasmine,you have a great blog here.My fav beverage is masala chai and that pic is lovely..:)

Anonymous said...

Yum! I'd like to add my voice to the choir of masala chai lovers, too, please! Great post!

Erin S. said...

I never think to make chai at home, but your post reminded me how easy it can be. As a side note, in the winter I often simmer a small pot of water with star anise, cloves, and a cinnamon stick to make the house smell lovely.

jasmine said...

Hi Erin

Thanks for visiting.

I'm afraid I suffer from the same delusions of grandeur as My Mummy Dearest when it comes to the kitchen (well, many would argue that I, in general, suffer from delusions of grandeur, but that's another story): I'll have something in a restaurant and then try and replicate it at home--I just have to remember to write down the experiments...

I am getting better at that...

Hope to see you again soon.

Anonymous said...

What a great post and picture Jasmine! I've got a cardamom recipe for you that is one of my favourites:


I know, you're saying "pineapple upside down cake?, oh brother!" but do use the 3 tsp. of cardamom suggested in this recipe. It is divine, and everyone loves it.

Tyson said...

Happily drinking my first cup of chai made from scratch, and bless you. The flavors are so much more distinctive than anything i have had in a coffee shop, and without the sickly sweetness too! Thanks so much. -Tyson

jasmine said...

Hi Jenny

I can see the flavours working -- remember: things that grow together generally go together; pineapple and cardamom are both grown in Kerala, India.

Hi Tyson -- glad you like the recipe. I know what you mean about things being overly sweet when you get them from the tea stall...I generally ask for things unsweetened and then I doctor things myself. Hope you come back soon :)

herhimnbryn said...

Spooky! I have just found you and have been reading yr archives. I adore a well made Chai... as you can see!http://secrethill.blogspot.com/2006/02/chai-tea.html#links.

Spooky.....put it down to the Cardemon!

Madame K said...

I just found your lovely blog and you hooked me right away!

I love spices of all kinds, and have become somewhat addicted to chai lately.

Thanks for sharing your blend!

Tom said...

I see that you used green cardamom in your chai recipe. Would it make a big difference to use white cardamom pods?

Cathy said...

Was glad to see this recipe. I make a Sharbat beverage with Rooh Afza syrup, cardamom and nuts. I'll definitely be trying this recipe.

Tamara said...

This recipe makes a divine cup of Chai! My house smelled so amazing when I made this. Thank you!