What warms you up when cold winds and weather threaten your comfort? A good cup of hot beverage. In Europe it would be mostly coffee, hot milk chocolate and some tea. In India there is only tea and not just any tea, the Indian chai. Chai means actually tea but in the western world it is understood that chai is a milk tea type. What is masala chai then and whats the difference?
Masala means a mix of different spices. There are incredibly lots of Masala mixtures, they are used in the Indian kitchen to add a unique flavours to the dish and they have special Ayurvedic properties (Ayurveda is the name of the traditional Indian medicine). So a masala chai contains not only black tea, water and milk but some health benefiting spices too, and spices warm you up, right?
The other day me and my husband we had a talk about spices in general. We came to the conclusion that every human being experiences some spice types in a different way. For example… my husband feels that the spice clove is pungent spicy in his mouth, while I love clove and I don’t feel any hot feeling. At the other hand I cant have too much chili cause it burns in my throat, while my husband can chew some few of them without trouble.
So it really depend on each individual. The first time I had spicy food was in India and honestly I was shocked. Imagine having some Veg dish in your mouth but you can’t taste the vegetable, in fact u don’t really taste, what you experience is something like a organic bomb in your mouth. I was surprised to know later that there was more then just chili but a few spice types, which I couldn’t have possibly distinguished and recognized. Chili isn’t a big thing in middle Europe, we never use it in our cooking and spices are very rare in traditional cooking, mixing them all together is unimaginable for a person from there. Some people like my sister consider it even a crime and I used to think the same.
But! Even I got used to the food and I started to enjoy Indian food in my husbands households (chili is less). It all started to make sense, why they would mix together certain spices. It was all of a sudden so clear to me and that’s when I fell in love with masalas. If you get to think, Indian cooking is very smart, you can even call them genius. Spices are so healthy and to know how to combine them right and in a right dose is not that simple, it is an ART!
- 2 Tbs Assam Black tea (granulate)
- 2 cups Water
- ¾ cup Milk
- 2 Green Cardamon pods
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- pinch white pepper
- pinch ground ginger
- 1-2 cloves – optional
- Take a pot and fill it with the water, keep on slow heat and add in the Black tea. Smash the cardamon a bit so that the flavours can mix better into the tea and add it to the water. Add in the remaining spices and keep the heat slightly higher. Bring it to a boil and set the heat back down, let it simmer for 10 mins. At the end add in the milk and sugar and mix well. To serve it strain the tea first and fill it into the cups. Ready!