Sunday, September 15, 2013

Masala Chai Winter Blend

I've been sick for the past week and, with my senses dulled, I can't properly appreciate (or review) teas.  Instead, I've been preparing my own Masala chai blend because the ingredients are healthy and soothing while the flavor and aroma aren't lost to my dulled senses.

In creating my own Masala chai blend, I researched and tried out a number of recipes.  In India, Masala chai preparation and ingredients can vary from family to family and from region to region.  This is most evident in recipe reviews where it is obvious that expectations vary greatly with each reviewer.  Common remarks are that the recipes are too spicy or not spicy enough, should or should not have included fennel or star anise, and the ginger and cinnamon should have been reduced or increased.  In a sense of individual taste, each reviewer is correct.  I took this to heart, creating a blend that met all my personal expectations.  My chai has a spicy kick to chase away the autumn and winter chill with ingredients portioned to work well together and with a resulting infusion that can be enjoyed with or without milk and sugar.  I call it my Masala Chai Winter Blend and it has been my steady companion in good health and in poor health.

This is a single-serve recipe which I find handy for gift giving and for taking to the office.  I used a mortar and pestle to crush some of the dry ingredients.

1 heaping teaspoon black tea (I prefer Assam because it won't be overpowered by the spices.)
1/2" fresh ginger, grated or 1/4" dried ginger, chopped
2 cloves, crushed
1 cardamom pod, crushed
2 black peppercorn, crushed
1/3 cinnamon stick, crushed
8 ounces boiling hot water

Combine ingredients in a filter or teabag.
Steep in hot water for 3-7 minutes, to taste.

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