Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Cuppa: Masala Hottie!

I’m having the February blahs. The shortest month in the year is the one I hate the most because it’s a teaser month. I know that Spring is slowly making its way in, but Winter is not quite ready to leave. Thought I’d end this month and close off my love theme on a spicy note. In a previous post, I discussed the whole chai tea redundancy. Now, I’m going to show you how I prepare my masala chai.

There are many ways to make masala chai. Just do a quick Google search and you’ll find a multitude of recipes using various ingredients. I do experiment myself using a wide variety of ingredients in different doses. Sometimes I just throw spices right into a pot and other times I make up a spice mix and measure out the amount I require. Depending on what I have in my pantry and refrigerator, I may use fresh ingredients like ginger or use a powdered version of it. The following is a spice mix I made:
     
A round of spices!

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger powder 
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon powder 
  • 1 ½ Tsp. cardamom grinded 
  • 1 Tsp. nutmeg grated 
  • 1 Tsp. cloves grinded 
  • ½ Tsp. Black peppercorns grinded
     
A hit of heat!

I like to make small portions of my spice mix because I don’t want them sitting around. Spices do have expiration dates and will lose their flavour and aroma over time, but feel free to make a larger amount and place it in an airtight container away from light.

The tea you will want to use should be strong. Something that’s capable of working well with all the spices. I like to use a mamri Assam tea. “Mamri” which means “little grain”, is a CTC (cut-tear-curl) tea that looks very much like instant coffee granules. You may use loose leaf Assam tea, but I suggest saving that to enjoy on its own. To make a masala chai, you’re really cooking the tea. As well, the spices will take over the flavour and aroma of the tea. This mamri tea is cheap and strong. It’s perfect for cooking with all these spices. Tea bags also work very well, so feel free to use those instead. 
    
Little grain Assam!

Process:

1.   Simmer water in a pot. I used 3 cups of water.

2.   Throw 1 tsp. of the spice mix into the water. You may use more, but these spices are very strong. Play around with the portions. I find less works best. Heat for 10 minutes.

3.   Use 3 tsp. of the mamri Assam. Heat for another 5 – 10 minutes.

4.   Add milk. I usually just eye the amount I need. I look for a certain colour I like.

5.   Transfer the tea from the pot into a teapot with a sieve to separate the solids.

6.   Pour tea into a cup and add sugar. I like to sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on top of my tea for an extra kick of heat!
   
Tea transfer.

Separating the solids. 

Enjoy your masala chai! 

Cuppa hottie!

Options:
  • Experiment with different spices. Try fennel seeds, star anise, or cumin. Maybe use bits of dark chocolate.
  • Try different sweeteners as well. I used raw sugar, but you can try stevia, honey, or maple syrup. 
  • There are even different types of milks you can try like coconut or almond. I used 2% milk for this recipe.


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