Masala Chai Tea

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It’s finally February! January breezed by too fast but while it’s still crisp and nippy out, here’s my first post for this new year. Some of you may remember seeing this tea on my former blog. Enjoy!

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I was flipping through the pages of Fine Cooking Magazine and a picture of a steamy mug of creamy tea caught my eye. Along with that picture was a recipe for “masala chai tea”. I had my first taste of chai tea at Starbucks. It was an interesting flavor but it was a bit too sweet and the spices were too bold for my taste. However, it peaked my interest so I thought that I should try a more authentic version of chai tea. Since making a pilgrimage to India was out of the question, doing a little research was my next option. This recipe promised a subtle and more delicate flavor so I had to try it.

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“Masala” refers to a blend of spices used in Indian cuisine, and the word, “chai” is the word for tea. So, “masala chai tea” translates to…”spiced tea, tea. Right? Think about it.

I’m enamored with the idea that there are as many chai tea vendors also known as “chai wallahs” or “chaiwalas” spotting the streets of India as there are coffee houses speckled all over our cities. Each of them as dedicated to the art of making chai tea as a barista is to brewing the perfect cup of espresso. Finding some of the spices was a little adventure and I wasn’t familiar with some of them. Lucky for me, I’m minutes away from a Mediterranean specialty foods market and they carry lots of lovely products.

What I love about this tea is that it’s fragrant, creamy, spicy, and it’s packed with healthy benefits. A tea with all of these wonderful ingredients has to be good for us right? Here’s how this tea is prepared.

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You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of loose English breakfast or Darjeeling tea
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 6 cardamon pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 slice of ginger
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (more or less to your taste)
  • 1/3 cup of milk

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Meanwhile, crush each cardamon pod with the back of a spoon until you hear a slight pop or the pod slightly opens. Place the loose tea, cloves, peppercorns, cardamon pods, star anise, and the slice of ginger into a mesh tea infuser. Once the water has reached a boil, remove from heat and drop in the cinnamon stick and the tea infuser into the hot water. Allow it to steep uncovered for 5 minutes. Then, remove the cinnamon stick and the infuser from the liquid. Add sugar and the milk. Froth with a whisk until sugar has dissolved and the tea is slightly frothy.

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You should now have a foamy, creamy, fragrant tea. Pour into cups. Grate a little fresh nutmeg on top. Sip. enjoy.

Let me know what you think and have a very romantic February!

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