International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Masala Chai

Brewing masala chai

(Indian spiced tea)

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Indian masala chai, often known simply as chai in the English-speaking world, should be spicy, milky and strong. There is no one true recipe for masala chai. Adjust the spices to your taste. Any black tea will do, but Darjeeling or Assam is best. Tea vendors in India are known as chai wallahs.

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

  • Water -- 6 cups
  • Milk -- 1 cup
  • Brown sugar or jaggery -- 1/4 cup
  • Cinnamon stick -- 1
  • Cardamom pods -- 6
  • Cloves -- 6
  • Fresh ginger, chopped -- 2 teaspoons
  • Loose black tea -- 2 tablespoons

Method

  1. Add the water, milk, brown sugar or jaggery, spices and ginger to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover tightly and remove from heat. Set aside to for 10 minutes to infuse the spices.
  2. Add the tea and bring back to a boil. Cover tightly again, remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and serve immediately.

Masala Chai Variations

  • Kashmiri Chai: For the spices, use cinnamon, cardamom, 2 tablespoons of ground almonds or pistachios and a pinch of saffron. Substitute green tea for the black tea.
  • Try other spices and flavorings: star anise, fennel seeds, ground ginger, bay leaves, peppercorns, nutmeg, orange peel, a squeeze of orange or lemon juice, or a pinch of saffron.

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