The word Chai simply means “tea” in Hindi so, if you ask for Chai Tea in India, then you are actually asking for Tea Tea! Chai, or if you prefer, Indian tea, is rich and milky, deeply coloured, steaming hot, and boldly flavourful with a definite need for sugar to offset the toasty bitterness.
When asking for, or expecting, Chai people are often disappointed due to the apparent lack of spicy flavour so, in most cases, one should really ask for Masala Chai, masala meaning spices.
As ever there are many ways of making Chai and one needs to experiment to find the right blend of spices and flavour to suit your taste. In principle authentic Chai (tea) is made from:
- Milk (in a ratio of roughly one part milk to two parts water)
- Lots of black tea leaves (or tea bags) for strong infusion
- Plenty of sugar (maybe 2 heaped tea spoons per cup)
- Optional addition of spices for the Masala version of Chai
- Bring water, milk and spices to a simmer in a suitable saucepan on the stove. Adding the spices from the start gives them plenty of time to infuse.
- Reduce the heat and add in black tea to brew.
- Wait for tea to steep (do not allow it to boil it at this point as the tea will release too many tannins – those bitter compounds that make your mouth feel dry).
- Strain the warm spiced mixture into a mug; this will hold back the whole spices and tea leaves.
- Stir sugar into your chai and sweeten to taste.
THE SPICE CHOICE
Below are a list of some of the spices we recommend using to make the perfect Masala Chai but, remember, it really is down to personal taste and lots of trial and error in finding the best spice mix and flavour for you.
- Cinnamon Sticks (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon)
- Fresh Ginger
- Whole Cloves
- Green Cardamom Pods (or a pinch of ground cardamom)
- Star Anise
- Black Peppercorns
For our favourite Masala Tea then we suggest adding any (or all) of the following:
- 4 cardamom pods smashed with side of a knife
- small piece of cinnamon stick
- ¼ ” coin of fresh ginger
- pinch of fennel seeds about 10 seeds
Now sit back, relax and enjoy your favourite cup of Chai, spiced or plain and don’t forget you can buy from a large choice of Teapots and Tea Accessories at our Bredemeijer Link Here.