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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Masala Chai

As I said in my last post, my recipe is based on one from The New Guide to Spices. I have altered their (excellent!) recipe (mainly reducing the cinnamon and increasing the water), so here's my version.

Masala Chai
6 cups cold water
1/2 stick cinnamon
3 green cardamoms, whole
4 cloves, whole
2 tea bags pekoe (black) tea (or 2 tsp loose)
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (or half sugar, half Splenda)
milk or half and half, to taste (optional)

Add spices to water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Add tea and return to heat. Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove tea bags and sweeten. Add milk or half and half if desired.

I recommend trying it with milk/cream even if you think you won't like it (I was sure I would hate it). If you don't do milk, I've also used Very Vanilla Silk Soy Milk, with surprisingly good results.

I've also experimented with adding a pinch of dried orange peel, or sweetening it with vanilla sugar. Some people use green or oolong tea, or even rooibos ("red tea"). I intend to try all three, as well as black pepper and (maybe) ginger. Go ahead, have fun and experiment.

By the way, a farmer's market or natural foods store will often have spices in bulk packaging. It's much cheaper to purchase them that way! Last time I bought cinnamon sticks, I paid $2 for a good sized container (3.25 oz); McCormick's and other brands usually cost more than that for .75 ounces!


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