Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.


Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 12th, '14, 11:39

It is used in some garam masalas in the south.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby MEversbergII » Feb 12th, '14, 14:51

I've not actually tried real brewed masala chai yet. Assam tea is the order of it I'd suppose?

My next tea order should certainly include some in bulk for trying this out. A "silk stocking" will probably also be necessary!

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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 13th, '14, 04:27

I'm pretty sure most masala chai consumed in India is made using standard CTC. My mom likes SocieTEA because she feels it packs a lot of flavor (she always adds milk to her tea). A lot of the wealthier Indians we spent time with in Mumbai/Delhi/Kolkata over the last few weeks use Tetley's though, since the 'foreign' stuff is always seen as better. I met a guy who was proud he was serving (instant) Davidoff coffee...

TeadOff, I find it interesting that star anise is used so widely in Indian masala mixes since it is native to China; interesting stuff.

If you guys want to find recipes from India, just search for 'chai masala.' Here's one: it uses fennel vs star anise.

http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/masala ... ai-powder/
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 13th, '14, 06:25

Yes, I believe it is one of the 5 spice ingredients in China, right? I'm not sure it is widely used in India but it was used and sold in Kerala and part of the garam masala I bought there. Not really sure there are any rules for masala chai.

I just spent some time in Mumbai and the first thing I noticed was how much flavor there was in the food. I ate well. I can't find Indian food like that in Bangkok. Years ago, my favorite Indian restaurant was in the Sun Hung Kai building in Wanchai. Still there? Can't remember the name.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby MEversbergII » Feb 13th, '14, 14:36

Hm...so cheap tea it is then! I like the spice mixture recipe. Getting myself a chopper sometime soon so I'll give that a go. Could keep a tin of all that in the office easily enough!

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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby bliss » Feb 13th, '14, 17:02

MEversbergII wrote:Hm...so cheap tea it is then! [...] Getting myself a chopper sometime soon so I'll give that a go.

Riding around on a chopper, drinking Masala Chai, keeping it cool and a bit of dancing! A real Bollywood villain right there! 8)
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 14th, '14, 00:24

Star anise does appear to be used in quite a few masala mixes throughout India, and no, there are no hard and fast rules for chai masala, which was ground up as a response to British tea-drinking.

From what I've read, prior to the British trying to grow Chinese tea plants in India, only the Eastern tribes of India drank tea, and only for medicinal purposes. When the British introduced tea drinking (which they learned in China), they were mixing milk into tea brewed from local Indian varieties, and the Indians decided to make it their own and spice it up (literally)!
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby ClarG » Feb 15th, '14, 00:42

I made Masala chai with Nilgiri black tea last week and it tasted good but I could barely taste the tea. When I made the chai with the Nilgiri I put in Anise-seed, and a small amount of allspice since I did not have star anise. When I used the Assam it was 2nd flush and I made two cups of chai one for myself and one for my roommate and we could taste the tea. A lot of people do use cheaper tea, or pre-mixed tea for Masala chai. My South Indian friends use pre-blended Masala chai in tea bags using Wagh Bakri brand tea that already has the tea and spices together.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 15th, '14, 01:19

TeadOff when were you in Mumbai? We have a home there and just spent several weeks there (while jetting off to other points). I've had good Tamil food in BKK actually--down a back street in Sathon.

As for Sun Hung Kai, the restaurant you speak of is one of the better Indian restaurants in Hong Kong. Growing up it was "Viceroy of India," but it is now two restaurants, Tamarind and Duetto. Tamarind serves Thai and Vietnamese along with the Indian and Duetto is a strange Indian/Italian restaurant. The food is still pretty good (for HK)!

http://www.hiphongkong.com/eat/restaura ... ts/tamarin

http://hk.dining.asiatatler.com/feature ... ian-indian

The best food we had during out trip to India was at the Radisson in Agra. The best Mughal food we've ever had, by far, but pricey by Indian standards!
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 15th, '14, 09:59

jayinhk wrote:TeadOff when were you in Mumbai? We have a home there and just spent several weeks there (while jetting off to other points). I've had good Tamil food in BKK actually--down a back street in Sathon.

As for Sun Hung Kai, the restaurant you speak of is one of the better Indian restaurants in Hong Kong. Growing up it was "Viceroy of India," but it is now two restaurants, Tamarind and Duetto. Tamarind serves Thai and Vietnamese along with the Indian and Duetto is a strange Indian/Italian restaurant. The food is still pretty good (for HK)!

http://www.hiphongkong.com/eat/restaura ... ts/tamarin

http://hk.dining.asiatatler.com/feature ... ian-indian

The best food we had during out trip to India was at the Radisson in Agra. The best Mughal food we've ever had, by far, but pricey by Indian standards!

That's the name! Viceroy of India.

I was in Mumbai 3 weeks ago. I have to return in 2-3 months.

Many cheap and cheerful Indian joints in BKK between Silom/Sathorn on the small sois that connect the two streets near the Indian temple. There is also an area near Chinatown where the Sikh temple is, Pahurat, sometimes called little India. Not large but a few thali places and good Indian sweets. More and more Indians here in BKK. Seems to be a favored place lately.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 15th, '14, 12:47

What did you think of Mumbai? My dad spent much of his youth there. Try the famous 'cutting chai?' :)

BKK is a great city, but a lot of the locals do NOT like Indians. I found that out pretty quickly. Fortunately they can't tell I'm Indian unless I tell them. ;) I really like Bangkok and hope to spend more time there this year.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby Tead Off » Feb 15th, '14, 12:58

Mumbai is a city that is nice to visit, but not to live in, IMO. There's a lot there to do and see. Good restaurants, shopping, cultural events. It's also a good jumping off place to visit other places like Ajanta/Ellora, Goa, etc. Never heard of cutting chai. What is it?

Not sure why you feel that way about the locals. Did something happen, or did you overhear something? All the Indians I've met here seem quite comfortable with their situation. Then again, don't most groups complain about 'others'?
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 16th, '14, 02:08

Cutting chai is strong, sweet, milky tea served by the half glass...Mumbaikers are renowned for only drinking half cups of tea on the street.

Indians are discriminated against big time in BKK. PM me and I'll fill you in on the details, but ask your wife and her friends what they think of Indians and I won't need to. :shock:

As for groups complaining about others, yes, that is common of course.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby ABx » Feb 27th, '14, 01:27

Most of my co-workers are from India. So the thing to keep in mind, is that tea with spices, milk, and sugar is just how people tend to take their tea. It's no different than Brits taking their tea with milk and sugar -- Indians just go one step further. So forget notions of what's "traditional" or "correct." What is a "proper traditional" seasoning salt? Sure, gourmet types may have firm ideas, but most of the time you're going to get as many different answers as the number of people you ask.

As far as masala, there's no 'correct' recipe -- every family has their own recipe; it's just like us with our BBQ sauces, meatloaf, or any other family recipe. One of my current co-workers boils the tea in milk, others make the tea super concentrated and pour it into milk. It varies, but doesn't really taste like the mixes you tend to get here in the US.

It's true that not everyone drinks their tea with masala, but I don't think it's really that uncommon either. It just depends on taste and their motivation to take the time to make it (just like us and cooking in general).

With that said, I'm sure that I could get a recipe or two, if people want, but it might not really meet your expectations.
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Re: Making traditional Masala chai with black tea.

Postby jayinhk » Feb 27th, '14, 07:16

Well, I'm ethnically Indian, and we just spent a month going West/North/East and only had masala tea at home when my mom told our personal chef to make some, and it only had cardamom in it. ;) In the big cities people just get plain milky sweet tea to go most of the time. Often this is frothy from continuous aeration, and nowadays even from steamed milk from espresso machines.

You're right though, there's no 'right' recipe for masalas outside ancient texts, and masala tea (and the mix) is a relatively new phenomenon considering India was supposedly only drinking tea as tribal medicine in the East before the British went nuts over it in China!
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