Chai Masala – Hot Spiced Milk

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I have a new favourite hot beverage – milky chai masala –  which I urge you all to try when it starts getting really cold, wet and windy.  It may not win prizes for appearance, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in taste.  It’s the perfect drink when you’ve been out in the cold and need warming up on the inside. It requires a spice or coffee grinder – I use this one and really recommend it – maybe something for your Christmas list if you don’t have one.

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I was recently given this recipe from a friend who in turn received it from her Indian neighbour. Like Chinese whispers I have altered  it slightly to suit my tastes but the finished result is equally pleasing. Wafts of black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg come together to form a warming and comforting hot beverage that is guaranteed to please. Give it a try and let me know what you think by commenting below. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Chai Masala

milk

1 tsp sugar (or to taste)

1/2 tsp of chai masala spice mix (see above)

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Spice mix

4 inch long cinnamon stick

1 tbsp black pepper

2 tbsp of seeds from green cardamom

1 tsp cloves

1 level tsp ginger powder

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

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1. Grind the cinnamon stick and black pepper in your spice grinder and then add the green cardamom seeds but not the husks, cloves, ginger powder and freshly grated nutmeg. Blend until all the parts have taken on a powder appearance.

2.  Store in an airtight container.

3. Gently heat the milk until it is boiling hot in a saucepan. When it is hot add half a teaspoon of chai masala spice mix and sugar to taste and continue to heat for another couple of minutes so that the spices infuse. If you think it needs a little more spice then add a little more of the spice mix.

4. Strain into cups immediately. The milky spice taste is so comforting that you won’t be able to resist another cupful.

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Indian Spiced Tea – the perfect hot drink for stormy weather

Indian Spiced Tea

Oh its been mighty stormy recently in the UK. The type of storm that wakes you up in the middle of the night and your mind begins to play tricks and convinces you that the house will take off torpedo style like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz . Since I’m living in England and not Kansas or along a typical hurricane belt, I normally manage to get back to sleep in the knowledge that the wind will pass and we won’t be reliving the 1987 hurricane.

For the last few days however, the winds and rains have been battering our doors and keeping us cooped up inside. So when they gave us a little respite and a clear sky was visible we grabbed our wellies and headed out to face the cold wind on a country walk and to stretch our legs. We are spending a few days out of London so a walk in the fields with the pheasants and sheep was overdue.

After a bracing walk we returned to the warmth of the house and drank Indian spiced tea from elegant antique bone china cups, as you do.

In Kolkata, where Mr B is originally from, they often serve it in delicate little clay mugs, like this, at the side of the road from chai wallahs. They are often made from river clay that is then baked in an open fire. After use you literally discard your clay mug and it dissolves back into the earth. Environmentally friendly and far more hygienic than having a glass washed rapidly in unsanitised water at the edge of the road.

The drink is sweet, creamy and fragrant with ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon all vying for attention. It’s the perfect drink to transport us to warmer climates and exotic locations. Try it and let me know. If you prefer a stronger tea then add one more tea bag and a little less milk and more water.

 


Please note that I have not added the water in this photo and you will need more milk than what is shown, the jug was too irresistible not to photograph.

Indian Spiced Tea

Serves 6

600ml full fat milk

600ml cold water

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp ground ginger

1tsp ground cardamom (this works out to be approximately 5 cardamom pods)

1/2 (half) tsp ground cloves

3 tea bags (black tea such as PG)

6 cinnamon sticks, for serving

Please note that I have used ground spices, however, if you do not have these to hand or do not have a spice grinder you can use fresh ingredients and then simply strain the liquid after the tea has infused and before serving. 

1. In a saucepan add the water, all the spices (except the cinnamon sticks which are for serving) and the tea bags. Bring to the boil and then simmer for  5 minutes before adding the milk and sugar and then simmering for a further 10 minutes.

2. Let the spices and tea continue to infuse off the heat. You can leave them in the pan to cool. All this can be prepared in advance a few hours before drinking.

3. When ready to serve reheat the tea, removing the tea bags and simmering gently for 5 minutes. Serve immediately and place a cinnamon stick in each mug/glass. This is done more for effect than a major flavour enhancer so do not worry if you do not have any to hand.