It's a cold day in Connecticut and there is nothing better to do than to sit here, watch the snow fall and sip a hot cup of chai. No, not the kind you get at Starbucks. Ugh! It's way too sweet and it's full of stuff that makes me want to go and brush my teeth right away.
Now as a documentary wedding photographer, I have photographed many North Indian weddings where “masala chai” was a given. So, all props go to the Gujarati, Punjabi and Sindhi communities for rockin' it with their chai. They've got it down pat and I am hooked.
This morning, my friend Syl Arena (read his awesome book – LIDLIPS – on the pursuit of photography ) and I were discussing on Twitter what some of the best recipes for real chai would be. I pointed him to a couple of websites that came up on Google; here is one and here is another. Pretty decent. But I knew we could do better.
My mother-in-law, Saraswathi, is visiting us over the weekend. So I asked her to write down her recipe to make two cups of masala chai.
2 cups of Water
1 cup of either 1% or 2% milk
2 table spoons of loose or Powdered tea leaves (Darjeeling/Assam/Sri Lankan work)
1/4 table spoon of ginger or ginger powder
1/4 table spoon of black pepper
2 small sticks of cardamom
Sugar (to taste)
Boil 2 cups of water with one cup of milk
Add 2 table spoons of the tea leaves
Add the ginger, the black pepper and cardamom
Boil & Stir for 10 minutes (the tea should turn to a shade of rusty brown)
Pour the tea into a vessel using a strainer
Put the remaining tea leaves in a vessel, add a little water and boil again. Go ahead and strain this as well and add it to the original mix (this makes it nice and strong).
Sweeten your cup up to taste and enjoy!
Try this recipe out and let me know if it works out for you. It's very easy to do. I would love to hear from you in the comments section how your masala chai turned out.