Chai (pronounced as a single syllable and rhymes with 'pie') is the word for tea in many parts of the world. It is a centuries-old beverage, which has played an important role in many cultures. Masala Chai from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world. It is generally made up of: • rich black tea • heavy milk • a combination of various spices • a sweetener The spices are known as Masala, and those used vary from region to region and among households in India. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Indian Masala Chai produces a warming, soothing effect, acts as a natural digestive aid and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. It's difficult to resist a second cup.
Great Masala Chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but making your own Masala Chai provides immense satisfaction (and makes the house smell yummie!). Recipes and tastes for Masala Chai vary widely and a multitude of Masala Chai recipes are used around the world. Indian grocers carry various Chai Masala mixes, which you can use to make your own Masala Chai. Commercially produced concentrates can be found at many health food grocers and coffee shops. Ingredients for making your own Masala Chai are available just about everywhere.
There is no end to the diversity of recipes for making your own Masala Chai. Masala Chai recipes are like Italian minestrone soup it's always good but everyone's recipe is different. Brewing Masala Chai is fun and allows you to experiment until you get it 'just right' for your personal taste. Masala Chai is basically black tea brewed with selected spices and milk. Each ingredient adds subtle flavor changes and brewing methods vary widely.
After looking at a variety of recipes, I chose the most traditional Masala Chai recipe that I could find. As I understand it, one should take time to do this correctly and I have found that the recipe that I present on the following page turns out beautifully if you do take the time. In otherwords, do not rush. If you need to rush, buy Chai in a box or a mix and go for it. Masala Chai 6/13/2004 5:01:00 PM 1 firstname.lastname@example.org
The following traditional recipe is used by hundreds of thousands of Indian housewives who have lots of time to prepare tea. As the author of this recipe indicated, good food, expecially Indian food is never cooked in a hurry.
Fist of all, the ingredients below should be fresh or as fresh as possible. You can get all of these spices in Indian-American grocery stores but we have also found fresh ingredients in Natural Food Groceries. 1. Black tea is necessary. Do not use green tea as it will ruin the taste. The highest quality black tea is organic Darjeeling Tea. Other black teas that can be used include Assam, Ceylon, Nilgiri or Sikkim. Orange Pekoe found commonly in the U.S. is a Ceylon blend black tea. When brewing in the traditional Indian method, all of the ingredents are boiled together. If using a traditional leaf tea, some bitterness can occur duing the boiling process. To eliminate this, it is recommended that you use a black tea that is produced in the Crush, Tear, and Curl (CTC) method of processing. This processing method was developed in the 1950’s and is what is used in over 80% of India. It will not become bitter during boiling. You may need to search a bit to find this. I have used fine quality leaf Darjeeling and the added bitterness has not been an issue for me at all. 2. Whole cloves, cinamon stick, fresh ginger (fresh powdered if necessary), whole black pepper, and cardamon pods 3. Half-and-Half milk for very rich silky Masala Chai. If you do not want it as rich (and to save your arteries), use a combination of whole milk and Half-and-Half, proportions to your taste and budget. You can also use only whole milk, 2%, 1%, or skim milk if you want a diet Masala Chai. What will suffer is the silkiness and richness of a Half-and-Half Masala Chai. Preparation for 1 cup of Masala Chai In a deep pan, add 3/4 cup water and 1/2 cup Half-and-Half. If you substitute whole milk and Half-and-Half or lower fat content milk, simply substitute for the 1/2 cup of Half-and-Half. Add 1 full teaspoon of black tea or one high quality black tea bag, and then spices as follows:
1 pod cardamon 2 pea size pieces of fresh ginger mulched or about as much fresh powdered ginger 1 big whole black pepper corn 1 small clove 1/8 large stick of cinnemon or 1/6 smaller stick of cinnemon
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Crush all of the spices together or if you have a spice grinder, grind together and then add to the water, milk, and tea on the stove and heat. This mixture should reduce a 1/4 or more in volume during cooking so let it simmer on the stove for at least 15 minutes until cooked down. Add sugar to your taste; try about 2 teaspoons for a cup of Masala Chai. Natural sugar is best. No flavored sugars or honey in a traditional drink. Strain into a cup and drink very hot. Enjoy. If making a larger batch of Masala Chai, I recommend making eight cups or multiples of eight cups at a time as ingredients are easier to measure out. For eight cups, use the following recipe. In a deep pan, add 6 cups water and 4 cups Half-and-Half. If you substitute whole milk and Halfand-Half or lower fat content milk, simply substitute for the 4 cups of Half-and-Half.. Add 6-8 full teaspoons of black tea or 6-8 high quality black tea bags, and then spices as follows:
8 pods cardamon 12 pea size pieces of fresh ginger mulched or 1 teaspon fresh powdered ginger 8 whole black pepper corns 4 large cloves 1 large stick of cinnemon
Crush all of these spices together or if you have a spice grinder, grind together and then add to the water, milk, and tea on the stove and heat. This mixture should reduce a 1/4 or more in volume during cooking so let it simmer on the stove for at least 1 hour until cooked down. Take tea bags out. Add sugar to your taste. I suspect that about 1/2 cup will be a good amount, maybe 1/8-cup more. Natural sugar is best. No flavored sugars or honey in a traditional drink. Strain into cups and drink very hot. Enjoy. I will chill and save extra and reheat simply because I do not like to waste such good tea even though fresh is best. I have found references to traditional Masala Chai indicating that an Indian family will have Masala Chai cooking for 24 hours or more on the fire and come if for a cup when wanted. Let a coat of burnt milk collect on the bottom of the pan as well. This will add to creating a silky Masala Chai.
Ideas from Jan Routh - Recipe Editor for The Enthusiast's Online Chai Resource Chai tastes are personal and the making of chai requires experimenting to discover the specific blend of spices that you like. Try chai at several Indian restaurants first to get a feel for your taste preferences then try making chai from scratch--it's fun, fragrant, makes your kitchen smell great and is immensely satisfying. Once you try it, you'll want it again. Freshness of spices is paramount for the best flavor. We frequently buy very small quantities of the spices that we like at the local health food store or an Asian-Indian grocery we go to. I would not recommend using any spice that is over three months old. Masala Chai 6/13/2004 5:01:00 PM 3 email@example.com
You must use black tea, which has the strength to hold its own with the spices--green tea won't do. Also, interestingly, Masala Chai must be sweetened to bring out the flavor of the spices Masala Chai is not very good unless it is sweetened. We use ordinary granulated sugar so no extra flavors are added. Masala Chai is also somewhat medicinal. Our herbal books explain that ginger and cardamom aid natural digestion, cloves, pepper and cinnamon are warming, and we feel a sense of well being after drinking chai. Indian foods seldom bother my husband's delicate stomach. Various other spices/seasonings that I've found in Masala Chai recipes that can be used to make Masala Chai: licorice root, fennel seed, allspice berries, bay leaves, nutmeg, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, orange peel, coriander, mint leaves, vanilla bean, lemon, and the list goes on... Idea from Jagadisha For maximum flavor Masala Chai should be fresh and very hot, slurped not sipped. Idea from Lisa Tsering ... the step of boiling the whole concoction until it foams up at least once is very important. Whole milk, or half & half, is also necessary to get that good film on top. Idea from Umesh Reghuram To make your own masala chai grind all the ingredients in a spice grinder until fine. Remove into a glass bottle & store in cool, dark place. This blend stays fresh for about 6 months.
adrak adu aniseed Assam tea
see ginger see ginger delicate sweetish licorice flavor, aid to digestion black Indian tea, strong, full-bodied, produces a dark, orangy liquor with a distinctive 'malty' flavor, good quality, considered 'self-drinker' by Indian government, i.e., tea worth drinking unblended large dried leaves of bay laurel tree, one of the oldest herbs used in cookery
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cassia Ceylon tea chai chai masala chini
Crush, Tear, Curl
rich in tannins, highly astringent, good remedy for diarrhea, produced by allowing harvested leaf to wither and oxidize for several hours before the process is halted by firing (i.e., heating and drying out) the leaf; see Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, Nilgiri and Sikkim elaichi or illaichi; (Elettaria cardamomum) green, white or black pods which contain black seeds, very aromatic when crushed, green pods are more aromatic than plumper, bleached white pods, green and white are generally used with sweet cooking, black is generally used for savory cooking, most prized spice after saffron, antispasmodic, digestive stimulant, eases flatulence, helpful for headaches tejpatta; (Cinnamomum cassia) close relative to cinnamon, native to southern India and Sri Lanka black Sri Lankan tea, brisk, full flavor, reddishbrown liquor, usually used in blends tea aromatic spice mix for chai sugar darchini or taj; (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) used in rolled sticks or powder from the inner bark of cinnamon trea, aromatic sweet and pleasant flavor, relieves nausea, flatulence and diarrhea, generally considered to be of better quality than cassia bark from C. cassia, a close relative laving or lavang or laung; (Eugenia aromatica) wonderful aroma, used whole or powdered, antiseptic, antispasmodic, prevents nausea, may be chewed as a breath freshener jeera or zeera; (Cuminum cyminum) CTC teas produce a rich red color when they are boiled, which adds a beautiful color to tea made with the Indian method. This is done by boiling leaves in a mixture of milk, water and sugar and some spices (producing a Masala Chai). With that production method, the tea won't get bitter, and its red comes through the white of the milk. see cinnamon black Indian tea, very flavorful, most expensive, sought after, light reddish color to a bright gold liquor, astringency usually quite pronounced, aroma and flavor hint of almonds and wild flowers, good quality, considered 'self-drinker' by Indian government, i.e., tea worth drinking unblended 5 firstname.lastname@example.org
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doodh elaichi fennel seeds
gur Half & Half illaichi imli jaggery jaiphal javitri jeera kali mirac kesar kesari khas khas khus khus lavang laung laving mace Masala Chai 6/13/2004 5:01:00 PM
milk see cardamom variari or variyali, sauf or sonf; aromatic seeds, taste similar to anise seed, used whole, roasted seeds make a delicious mouth freshener and digestive highly aromatic blend of several dry roasted and ground 'warm' spices, often sprinkled over top of dishes that are almost finished cooking, originated in northern India, typical incredients: cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, black pepper, chilies, mace see jaggery adrak or adu (rhizome), soonth or sont (powdered); (Zingiber officinale) sharp taste, native to most of Asia, peel before using, eases a cold, brings warmth and settles stomach, cleansing effect on body, prevents nausea, improves appetite and digestion sweetener made from sap drained from various palm trees such as date, coconut or palmyra, used in eastern and southern India brand name for a combination of half milk and half cream see cardamom tamarind ghoor; sweetener made from juice crushed out of sugar cane stalks, sold as hard or semi-soft pieces of unrefined cane sugar, color varies from light golden to dark brwon, flavor similar to molasses see nutmeg see mace see cumin see peppercorns see saffron see saffron khus khus or posta; (Papaver somniferum) white ripe seeds of the poppy plant used in India, usually toasted to bring out flavor, similar in flavor to the smaller than the blue-gray seeds used in the West see khas khas see cloves see cloves see cloves javitri; (Achillea decolorans) dried outside covering of nutmeg kernel, sharper, slightly bitter flavor, similar to nutmeg but stronger 6 email@example.com
mamri mari masala milk (whole) Nilgiri tea
poppy seeds posta
sakara sauf or saunf Sikkim tea shakkar soonth sonf sont or sonth taj tamarind tegpatta tej patta
granulated tea used in India, similar to tea fannings or dust see peppercorns spice (I like the creaminess of Half & Half for chai) black Indian tea, very much like Ceylon tea, good quality, considered 'self-drinker' by Indian government, i.e., tea worth drinking unblended jaiphal or zaiphal; (Myristica fragrans) aromatic nut, best used freshly crushed or grated, loses flavor rapidly in powdered form a term used for Ceylon black tea blend (most of the bagged tea that Americans drink is Indian and Ceylon black tea) kali mirac or mari; used whole or powdered, black and white pepper comes from same shrub, instead of picking unripe berries and drying to produce black pepper, fruit is allowed to ripen then is soaked to remove dark outer skin producing white variety, milder, helps promote gastric secretions see khas khas see khas khas kesar or kesari or zafrani or zafran; (Crocus sativus) sweetish aromatic orange-colored dried stigmas of crocus flower, most expensive spice, available in powdered form, best when used in stigma form called threads or strands sugar see fennel black Indian tea, similar to Darjeeling, less expensive sugar see ginger see fennel see ginger see cinnamon ambli or imli; bean-like fruit, wonderful sweet/sour taste, used for chutneys, dips, cooking, when ripe is peeled, seeded, compressed into brick-like shapes see cassia see bay leaf bits and pieces of tea leaves left over from the sievings that separate out whole leaves and large pieces of leaves, infuses quickly, used in bags (most of the bagged tea that Americans drink is Indian and Ceylon black tea) 7 firstname.lastname@example.org
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tea, loose tegpatta tej pati vanilla variari variyali zafran or zafrani zaiphal zeera
slightly larger than tea dust, pieces of tea leaves left over from the sievings that separate out whole leaves and large pieces of leaves, infuses quickly, used in bags (most of the bagged tea that Americans drink is Indian and Ceylon black tea) generally whole leaves, but because of their larger surface becomes stale more quickly see cassia bay leaf (Vanilla fragrans) see fennel see fennel see saffron see nutmeg see cumin
Much of the information found in this document was found at The Enthusiast's Online Chai Resource at http://www.odie.org/chai/index.html
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