“Chai” simply means “tea” in most Indian languages. We are big chai people. Not only must we start our day with it but we also don’t miss a chance to savor a cup in the evening (dubbing this time of day as “chai – time”). It is also a must-have over lazy weekend breakfasts with friends or family that turn into catch up sessions over multiple rounds of chai, and of course on rainy days where all you want to do is curl up with your book and a hot cup of, you guessed it – chai!
The great thing about it, is that it is actually good for you! Traditionally chai is brewed with black tea along with aromatic spices like ginger, black pepper, cardamom and even cloves. The tea leaves and spices are rich in anti-oxidants and have deep healing properties according to ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Truth be told, the average Indian enjoys chai purely because of taste – the health benefits are a bonus 😉
Every household in India makes their tea differently and each recipe is very personal, often passed down through generations. Growing up in my house I was used to drinking tea brewed in milky water with sugar. It was only after marriage that I began to relish the taste of Masala chai. With its hints of sweet and spice, this smooth aromatic milky tea is a wonderful brew that wakes up all your senses. The recipe below is inspired by my husband’s family. They are Gujarati (from Gujarat, a western state in India) and really know how to do a good Masala chai. And since it is among the few things R enjoys making as well – I get to snooze for an extra five minutes on weekends while he makes chai!
The Recipe : Masala Chai – Makes 2 cups (preparation time 5-7 minutes)
What you will need :
2 cups water
1/3 cup milk (skimmed or whole)
1 inch piece ginger
2 small cardamoms
2 tsp black tea
Agave or sugar to taste (optional)
In a pot, bring water to boil. While this is happening, grind the ginger and cardamoms using a mortar and pestle, add this ground wet mixture to the water and let it boil together for a minute or so. Separately heat 1/3rd cup milk in the microwave and then add to boiling pot of water. Add tea, bring to boil and cut the heat. Cover and keep for 2-3 minutes. Seive and pour into cups, add sugar/agave as required. Enjoy hot!