Instant Masala Chai

January 21, 2021 0 Comments

Once upon a time, we took a train from Delhi to Varkala. Along the way, chaiwallahs would jump on the train to offer cups of steaming hot masala chai. If the stop in a station was short, they would serve it to the passengers through the train windows (along with homemade snacks!). 

Even since then, we’ve been on the hunt for a good masala chai that had the same incredible depth of flavor we remember.

(Chai means “tea” in the Urdu language. Masala means “a blend of ground spices” in Hindu, Urdu and Gujarati. So, “chai tea” is technically “tea tea”!)

Most tea bags don’t come close in capturing the intensity of flavor. The syrups contain a ton of sugar and usually don’t come in decaf. And using whole spices, even when steeped for a long time don’t release all their flavor.

So, what’s a spice blend company to do? Create our own chai masala, of course! Our blend is specific to our taste (we like the intense flavors of black pepper and cardamom). You may want to use less or more of a specific spice, so we encourage you to experiment.

The flavors will be more intense if you grind whole spices, but ground spices will work just fine. You’ll end up with about a cup and a half of ground spice, which will keep for 3-6 months in a tightly sealed glass or metal container kept out of direct light.

Instant Masala Chai

Traditionally, you would cook the spices, loose tea leaves, sugar, milk and water in a pan on the stove. While it takes almost no extra time to do this, it’s a little more work/messier, so our morning routine is to make the tea and then add the milk to cool it down to a drinkable temperature (we tend to not add sugar, even though it tastes good!).

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp masala
  • 1 TBSP black tea leaves*
  • 2 C boiling water (180°F to be exact)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • Milk (full fat tastes best, but low-fat, oat, coconut or nut milks work, too)

Directions

  1. Place tea leaves and masala in tea infuser/bag** over your preferred tea cup/mug
  2. Pour over hot water
  3. Cover and steep, 5-7 minutes
  4. Remove tea strainer/bag
  5. Stir in milk and sugar to taste

Chai Masala (from ground spices)

Mix ground spices in a metal or glass bowl.
  • 3 TBSP ground cloves
  • 3 TBSP ground green cardamom
  • 3 TBSP freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 TBSP ground fennel seeds
  • 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 TBSP ground turmeric
  • 3 TBSP ground ginger

Chai Masala (from whole spices)

Coarsely grind spices—except nutmeg—in a spice/coffee grinder or blender. Crush and grind nutmeg in a mortar and pestle or grate it into blend.
  • 1/4 C whole cloves
  • 1/4 C green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 C black peppercorns
  • 1 TBSP whole fennel seeds
  • 3x 3 inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1-2 TBSP ground turmeric
  • 3 TBSP ground ginger

*You can use tea bags if you’re in a pinch, but the flavor is more intense if you use tea leaves. We get our (hard-to-find decaf) loose leaf tea from our favorite Denver-area tea shop, Ku Cha House of Tea. Their Decaf Vanilla Black Tea works especially well in Masala Chai!

**We like using a tea infuser like this or paper tea filters like this. (We have had zero luck with tea balls...)





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