Saturday, March 8, 2008

Iced Masala Chai

When I can't drink coffee, Indian masala (usually redundantly referred to in the US as "chai tea") is my drink of choice. In its simplest form, it is a sweetened spiced tea with milk. Hot or cold, it is a refreshing beverage to have at any time of the day.

Every afternoon, a bunch of my Indian colleagues will get together and brew a pot to share with whoever wants it. They use a coffee pot, microwave and a bunch of ingredients that they've got stowed away in a cabinet in the lunch room. Their chai is a thick and heady with spices including fresh ginger root. Inspired, I decided to make some of my own at home.

I make masala chai concentrate which is nice because each member of the family can sweeten their chai to their taste.

Iced Quasi-Masala Chai Concentrate
  • 4 bags of black tea
    You can use the equivalent amount of loose-leaf if you have it
  • fresh ginger root, 1" knob, sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 1 T peppercorns, whole
  • 1 T cloves, whole
  • 1 T allspice, whole
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat 8 cups of water to just under a boil. Add the black tea and the flavorings and steep for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes at low or warm heat. Add vanilla and stir. Remove from heat and strain into a pitcher.

To serve (12 oz glass)
Pour 6 oz of the brewed chai into the serving glass. Add 6oz of milk (whatever kind you like) and stir. Sweeten to taste, adding ice if desired.

Spices in your local megamart (AB saying) baking and spices aisle are usually ridiculously expensive. $5 for a few measly cinnamon sticks? In the long run, it may be cheaper than getting $3+ chai lattes at Starbucks but is still hardly truly economical.

When buying spices for chai, I opt for ethnic markets or at least the ethnic aisle. I live in an area with a lot of ethnic and in particular Indian markets so I've got plenty to choose from. When in a megamart, though, I steer the cart towards the ethnic aisle where there are usually spices in small cellophane packets for less than a $1.50. Still not as great as if I were to get them from the Indian market but a lot better priced than if I bought them in the little glass jars.

1 comment:

LH said...

This is a seriously old post and I'm tired of seeing it on my own front page. Gimme a new entry! Make some baby food or something! :)