DIY Masala Chai Blend
Tea is how I start my morning. While most people go for coffee, my first drink is always tea. In the winter I like that first drink to be a little spicy, so a tea full of things like cardamom, coriander and pepper is perfect.
Tea blends are easy to make at home. Essentially all you do is take tea leaves, figure out flavors that will work well with them, and then start blending. I’ve been putting dried citrus peel in Earl Grey lately, which is a great combination.
The beauty of making this Masala chai blend is that you toast the seeds to really bring out the flavor, which means that besides making a good tea blend, your kitchen also smells amazing in the process.
I’ve always found our botching of the word “chai” humorous. For most Americans, the word chai has become synonymous with the slightly spicy, milky drink, when in all actuality, “chai” is the word for tea, not just in India, but in many countries. The spicy chai that you think of is technically known as Masala Chai, brewed with aromatic spices, milk and a sweetener.
So of course when you say “chai tea” it’s really like you are saying “tea tea.” Well, I think we can all stop with that now.
Tea is an essential part of many cultures, poured just as easily at business meetings as it is in homes. It’s what brings people together. A moment to sit and drink and chat. It’s a showing of hospitality.
As T’ien Yi-heng said, “Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world.”
So take a moment, brew a cup and drink in the silence.
DIY Masala Chai Blend
Adapted from The Kitchn
2 tablespoons cardamom pods
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons red peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed into small pieces
4 tablespoons dried ginger root (directions on how to make below)
1 cup black tea leaves (like Darjeeling)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Spread the cardamom pods, fennel seeds, cloves, peppercorns and coriander seeds on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, until you can really smell the spices.
In a bowl, mix together the toasted spices with the crushed cinnamon sticks, dried ginger root and black tea leaves.
Store the tea blend in an airtight container.
How to make dried ginger root:
To make dried ginger root, thinly slice fresh ginger. You can use the same method to dry the ginger out as you do for citrus peels – dry them in the oven at 200°F (95°C) for about an hour or two. You can remove them when they are dried out and the edges have curled up.
How to brew the tea:
I like to brew my tea for about 10 minutes, to really release the flavors. I prefer to drink mine black, but you can also mix with milk and a little honey to get a more classic Masala chai.
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