Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Favorite Masala Chai

Indian Masala Chai is such a delicious drink. I love the blend of spices with black tea, sugar, and milk. It's one of the only times that I like to add milk and sugar to my tea. Its effects are soothing yet invigorating at the same time. Perfect any time of the day, and in any weather. I prefer to drink it either alone, or after a meal since the spices can mask flavors in food. I started thinking about the many variations of the drink this afternoon, after picking up a perfect version at a local Indian take-out joint.

There are numerous blends on the store shelves, and even pre-mixed chai in containers. You can also find it at just about any corner cafe, usually billed as a 'chai latte'. I've had  many versions of masala chai, but my favorite is when I make it at home. I prefer it light on the cardamom, but strong with ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Cooking it down with milk and sugar is a must for me. I usually use this version as a guide but tweak it depending on my mood. Endless recipes exist for masala chai, and many that claim to be the most authenic. It seems that many people in India have their own favorite recipe. I love this article where filmmaker Mira Nair explains her version of the brew. This article is from a few years ago, but is actually a great little read that I often think of while drinking chai. She refers to the chai as Matka Chai, which appears to mean the type of vessel it is served in, but I'm not completely sure. If anyone knows please enlighten me.

Chai lovers, how do you make yours? Do you prefer if hot or cold? Do you use a pre-made blend, or make your own? Do you brew it in a pot with the milk and sugar, or add it separately? The flavors are versatile and even work well in everything from ice cream to cookies. Feel free to share any favorite recipes for chai tea goodies!

1 comment:

  1. I like my masala chai to be heavy on the cardamom and light on the cinnamon and clove, and with moderate amounts of ginger. I often like adding allspice or mace, and perhaps a tiny dash of nutmeg or black pepper. I also like adding coriander, which is an atypical spice.

    My favorite commercial blend is, without a doubt, Rishi's Masala Chai.