The mornings have become nippy and days have become shorter. The month of November has gone by gradually and indolence has seeped in all around. No one gets spared by this sluggish air, even the effervescent Sun seems to be too lazy to rise in the mornings and eager to pull down its curtain in the evenings. If a celestial body like Sun falls into temptation of snuggling behind the blanket of fog spread by nature, how can the lesser mortals like us be spared?
The lesser mortals fight out this lethargy, with an access to a magic potion that we Indians for centuries, have known as “Chai” or tea. I believe that tea is our lifeline, our day does not commence without a glass or a cup of piping hot tea. Chai attains several forms in India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, but the one I am blogging about today is Masala Chai. To have a fair understanding of masala chai, we must begin with a plain version of chai. The chai as we love to have it, is prepared by brewing water, tea leafs (chai-patti), sugar and milk. That’s it these are the basic ingredients for a chai, and with no frills attached. Every commoner in India has easy access to this version of chai through innumerable tea stalls spanned across the length and breadth of this country. These tea stalls brew chai all day long as a steady stream of customers’ line up to sip onto their cup of chai. These vendors over the year have adopted to preferences of their patrons and have developed several different versions of chai. I have had opportunity to have some of these variants, like “Surr Chai”. This is a milky-sugary, less tea leaves chai, to be had after being poured in a saucer and with each sip you round up your lips and produce a sound of “surr”. Another variety of tea, though quirky for my taste, but equally popular is “kadi chamach ki chai”- a tea with so much sugar in it that the spoon must stand upright when put straight in, Noon Chai- A Kashmiri variant of chai made with salt.
Without taking away anything from these popular varieties of chai, let me tell you my preference, which you must have guessed by now, “Masala Chai”. Yes, that would be my poison, when I am guided by sanity. Every morning, I like to wake up to the aroma of chai brewing in the kitchen by missus, an aroma that is peppered by freshly grounded whole spices, that lures you into coming out of that snuggly blanket. The recipe is pretty straight forward, if you are already aware with Indian Chai, with an addition of few masalas (spices). However, if you have never made Chai, then you must try this out, just remember to stick to the ratio of ingredients to experience the flavor of true masala chai.
Prepare masala chai this winter for your loved ones and share your feedback with us in the comment section below.
- 250 ml water
- 2 tsp tea leaf
- 1 inch piece of ginger root
- 125 ml milk
- 4 tsp granulated sugar
- 4-5 cloves
- ½ tsp dry ginger powder
- ¼th tsp black peppercorn
- 4 green cardamom
- ½ inch piece of cinnamon stick
- Grate the ginger root with a grater
- In a mortar and pestle put all dry spices.Green cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves.
- Crush these spices into powder Reserve outer shell of cardamom pods.
- In a pan, put water and allow it to boil
- As water begins to simmer, put tea leaf and outer shell of cardamom pods.Let it simmer for couple of minutes.
- As tea begins to boil, add grounded spices.Let it simmer for couple of minute.
- Now add dry ginger powder and sugar.Keep stirring and let sugar dissolve.
- After 3 minutes of stirring, add milk.
- Reduce the flame to medium heat.
- As tea begins to boil, reduce the flame to lowest.Now add grated ginger and stir it in.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let the tea simmer for 4-5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, turn off the flame. Keep tea covered for a minute before serving
- Masala chai is best accompanied with glucose biscuits
Click here to watch recipe video