Masala Chai: A Start.

Published in: Food & Drink.

My first try at homemade masala chai was based off of some basic directions from a coworker: ginger and cardamom in water, bring to boil, add tea and steep, add milk. My coworker left sugar to the drinker. Her emphasized pieces of advice: don’t cook the tea too long and use fresh ginger.

With that template, I worked up a starting strategy:

  1. 4oz water; ½inch of fresh ginger, sliced; 4 cracked green cardamom pods go into a pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling turn off heat and add black tea.1 Steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Discard tea bag. Add 2tsp sugar2 and 4oz milk and bring to a simmer.
  4. Remove from heat and strain into mug.

Of course, this is a single serving.

For a first attempt I thought this was quite good. My first observation on tasting was that it was too sweet. As to the spices, I was expecting the simplicity of ingredients to result in a weak or one dimensional flavor. It did not, the flavor was very pronounced. A bit strong on the minty “cooling” flavor, which I think is coming from the cardamom.

So, next time:

  • 1tsp sugar
  • 3 cracked cardamom pods (or further analysis by making a ginger tea and a cardamom tea to isolate the flavors of each)

Once the sweetness and cardamom/ginger are in balance, I can start addressing the question of if it needs any additional spices.

  1. All I had on hand was a family-sized tea bag, so that’s what I used.
  2. I think masala chai needs a bit of sweetness.
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