Anand’s masala chai

May 20, 2011

‘I could close my eyes and do this’ were Anand’s words as he, in the midst of his morning slumber, assembled the ingredients needed for his family’s masala chai.

Masala chai is enjoyed by millions of people around the world, yet how many of you could actually make a proper cup at home? In northern parts of India, in particular, it is a staple, sold by street vendors, offered to guests on entering a home and served at upscale hotels. It is not something to be gulped down in a hurry, but savored – we find the milky sweet and aromatic tea to be something of a comfort.

A common misconception is that a good masala chai can be found throughout India. However, upon moving to Tamil Nadu we were shocked to discover that this was not the case. Luckily, our friend Anand has been kind enough to make us the odd cup or two, and has also shared his family’s recipe to go along with it.


Makes one cup

Small chunk of ginger (change according to taste)
1-2 cardamon seeds (apparently there are 12 in a pod…)
1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
1-2 cloves (change according to taste)
1 1/2 tsp of white sugar
1 heaped dessert spoon of black loose leaf tea (Anand suggests Lipton Yellow Label)
3/4 Cup water
1/4 Cup milk

– Grind spices in pestle and mortar and place in pan (if pestle and mortar not available, just place spices in whole)
– Add loose leaf tea and sugar
– Add water and heat on stove until it reaches boiling point
– Take off the heat, add milk
– Place back on the heat and simmer for a few minutes
– Turn off the heat and strain into the cup

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