Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.


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Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby ClarG » Feb 9th, '14, 05:32

Anyone here ever make traditional Masala chai with black tea?

I am thinking of making some tomorrow for myself and my one roommate but I will use Assam tea for it.

I have all of the spices for it as well including cardamom pods. I will let you know how it tastes.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby ClarG » Feb 9th, '14, 18:11

OK I made it and it turned out very well.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 9th, '14, 23:04

Different areas of India have different ingredients. The tastiest I've ever had was in Kerala, at a tea plantation that I stayed at. You can experiment with different spices and see what works for you. No fast rules with masala chai.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby ClarG » Feb 10th, '14, 19:18

Tead Off wrote:Different areas of India have different ingredients. The tastiest I've ever had was in Kerala, at a tea plantation that I stayed at. You can experiment with different spices and see what works for you. No fast rules with masala chai.

What did they put into their chai at Kerala?
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 10th, '14, 22:10

ClarG wrote:
Tead Off wrote:Different areas of India have different ingredients. The tastiest I've ever had was in Kerala, at a tea plantation that I stayed at. You can experiment with different spices and see what works for you. No fast rules with masala chai.

What did they put into their chai at Kerala?

I can't remember. You can do a search for recipes on google.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 11th, '14, 00:28

Just spent three weeks in India and almost all the tea I drank (aside from the tea I gong fu'd at home) was extremely milky with lots of sugar...didn't have any masala chai at all, although I did have some masala soda. ;)
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 11th, '14, 02:59

jayinhk wrote:Just spent three weeks in India and almost all the tea I drank (aside from the tea I gong fu'd at home) was extremely milky with lots of sugar...didn't have any masala chai at all, although I did have some masala soda. ;)

It's amazing how hard it is to get a good cuppa in India.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 11th, '14, 09:11

To most Indians, strong, milky and very sweet IS a good cup of tea! Masala chai is not everyday tea for most people there, although it's around if you want it, along with masala Cokes and spiced lassis.

My first cousin from Kolkata, who is Kashmiri/Sindhi/Nepalese, bought me a nice bag of the best Darjeeling she could find. Pretty good stuff; some vendors sell this stuff as Darjeeling oolong, but it's like no oolong I've ever had, that's for sure! Interesting drinking regardless. I can taste India in it. :mrgreen:
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby bliss » Feb 11th, '14, 12:21

ClarG wrote:
Tead Off wrote:Different areas of India have different ingredients. The tastiest I've ever had was in Kerala, at a tea plantation that I stayed at. You can experiment with different spices and see what works for you. No fast rules with masala chai.

What did they put into their chai at Kerala?

Here are some of my thoughts on the topic. It might be of interest to someone. Disclaimer: I'm not an authority in any way on this topic, just interested. I do not mean to make assumptions about anyone else's level of knowledge on this topic, so take it for what it is and please let me know if I'm off regarding something.

A 'Masala' is a spice mix, not necessarily a specific mix. This mix has its roots in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) and would originally (and still by some) be adapted for a person's body type (Dosha).

Looking at North vs South Indian food recipes, their preference for certain spices differ. Due to this, I imagine that their "default masalas" differ.

I think it is valuable to regard Masala Chai as tea steeped in milk spiced with traditional Indian spices and optional sweetener (I imagine Jaggery could be nice if a sweetener is wanted). So it has its own set of unique parameters to tweak! :D

What you might want to experiment with, and hunt for details about online, is South Indian whole (as in unground) masalas. Even more exciting, maybe experiment with spices complementary to your Dosha? 8)
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 11th, '14, 13:59

Nice post bliss! Yes, masala mixes vary widely; finding one to fit your particular needs is a good way of doing things. As a sweetener, most use plain white sugar, although in West Bengal there was a lot of fresh palm gur used in everything. Delicious stuff! I LOVE palm sugar.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 11th, '14, 22:16

Good masala chai should be made with whole spices, preferably. Powdered spices or ground spices will thicken up and float in some teas. Jaggery is good and also adds a bit of its own flavor to the tea but any sugar can do. Ginger is always a nice addition to a masala chai and very agreeable for the stomach. Cinnamon, cardamom, clove, anise, and black pepper are all possible ingredients. Ratios will vary depending on region and tastes. Strong black teas are usually best for masala chai. Nice drink.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby eyvind » Feb 11th, '14, 22:45

I would not claim "traditional" status but the recipe I use to make masala chai goes like this:

2 parts cinnamon bark
2 parts cardamon pods
1 part cloves
1 part black pepper
2 parts dry ginger root broken up, not powder
black tea (strong, robust- like for English style)
milk
honey (or other sweetener)

Use whole spices. Put the cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper, and cloves into a dry pan. Heat until they become fragrant. Crush them slightly with mortar and pestle. Put the ginger and roasted spices into boiling water and simmer with a lid for a few minutes. Shut off the heat and add the tea leaf- steep about 4 minutes. Strain the tea and spices out, leaving only liquid. Add milk and honey to taste.


For a liter batch, I would use about 10 ml as a "part" for each spice. This can be adjusted to taste. Use as much tea as you would normally use for making English style black. I usually have about 1/4 to 1/3 of the liquid volume as milk.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 12th, '14, 01:06

AFAIK anise is not used in Indian cuisine--fennel seed is, however, and tastes a lot like anise.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 12th, '14, 01:47

jayinhk wrote:AFAIK anise is not used in Indian cuisine--fennel seed is, however, and tastes a lot like anise.

Star anise is used. I bought it in Kerala.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 12th, '14, 03:24

I stand corrected, I asked mom and she said star anise is used by Muslims and Gujaratis (who mix it into their garam masala) and since it has a name in Tamil, I guess the South Indians use it too! We don't use it in Indian cooking at home, but I do have a stash for my Malay/Viet culinary needs.
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