Keep warm for winter season
It’s cold out. The streets and roofs are enveloped with snow. It's time to take out your winter coats and snow boots, shovel the snow piling up out at the porch and when you're done, be sure to cozy up by the fireplace and enjoy a warm beverage!
What is your favourite winter beverage? Is it a glass of red wine? The best local sake? Hot chocolate with marshmallows? A strong cup of coffee or tea? Some eggnog perhaps? How about a piping hot cup of masala chai to invigorate your senses?
As you type in these two words into your browsers, you'll come across a whole Wikipedia article about masala chai. According to Wikipedia, Masala chai (/tʃaɪ/; Hindi: मसाला चाय, literally "mixed-spice tea" Urdu: مصالحہ چائے Nepali: मसलेदार चिया) is a flavoured tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Originating in India, the beverage has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses. Although traditionally prepared by a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves, retail versions include tea bags for infusion, instant powdered mixtures, and concentrates. In some instances, green fennel seeds can also be used.
Don't let the spices scare you! The combination of the tea, milk, sugar and spices bring to life a cup of something so special, something so fragrant and something so soothing to the senses. More than a hot beverage to warm you or wake you, the spices brewed along with the chai also have countless health benefits.
Cardamom, which is usually the most dominant note of chai, has been known to combat various health issues including digestive problems and even depression.
Cinnamon fights tooth decay, lowers cholesterol, relieves symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It's high in antioxidants and can even help improve memory.
Cloves help with digestion, reduces inflammation and is an excellent cure for chesty coughs.
Then there's the magical root with benefits we are all quite familiar with - Ginger. It eases headaches, sore throats and colds. It prevents loss of appetite, relieves nausea, and is another great remedy to improve digestion.
Are you already enticed by now? Are you heading to the kitchen at this very moment to make yourself a cup of this heavenly concoction we call masala chai? Well, hold on to your cups and saucers because we are sharing an easy masala chai recipe which is a must-try in this cold season!
Serves: 4 people
Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups whole/low fat milk
- 3 cups water
- 4 tablespoons black tea leaves (30 grams)
- 4 black peppercorns
- 4 cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 x 1cm cinnamon stick
- 3 cm peeled fresh ginger (roughly two slices)
- 4 heaped teaspoons of sugar (more/less or as desired)
- In a saucepan, add the milk and water.
- Add the spices
- Add the black tea
- Simmer/Brew on low flame for about 8-10 minutes
- Turn on the heat to high until the tea rises to the top of the pan and reduce the heat. Repeat this one more time.
- Strain the tea along with the brewed ingredients through a sieve into four cups
- Serve hot
This recipe makes four heavenly cups of authentic Indian Masala chai. Now, this recipe can be easily altered to your liking from adding more milk instead of water, less or more tea depending on how strong you would like it, to the amount of spices you enjoy. But do remember, the amount of time taken to brew the tea is very important. To get the best taste, brew according to the time suggested in the recipe. Divide recipe into equal portions to make a single serve.
So, the next time you're feeling cold, tired or a wee bit depressed, take a break, brew a cuppa, enjoy every single sip of it while relaxing by the fire place.
And guess what? You don't have to fly all the way to India to get the ingredients for this recipe. A perfect 30gram packet of tea along with a packet of the spices needed for the above recipe are both sold in all our restaurants. You could even stock up on the spices alone which come in a convenient 100g plastic jar, available at Taj Ethnic.
Interesting facts about chai
- The word chai already means tea, so it sounds silly when people say chai tea, doesn't it? You'd literally be saying tea tea.
- It was the British who popularised the mass consumption of tea in India.
- India is the largest worldwide producer of tea.
Come and join us
If you can't be bothered to brew a cup on your own, come and join us at any of our Taj Mahal restaurants. At Taj Mahal, we serve authentic Indian masala chai complete with snacks that make amazing accompaniments.