It got cold today. The morning cup of tea did not really cut it, and the stomach issues mean that coffee is off the agenda for a while. There is only one thing for it – Masala Chai.
There are literally hundreds of recipes for Masala Chai, The Kashmiris make it with gunpowder tea, the east of India don’t use black pepper the Southerners sometimes add rose petals. I have experimented many many times and tasted many many cups of chai. I think that Star Anise is a little overpowering even in small amounts, the sugar should always be brown and soft, I always use Jaggery if I can (unrefined sugar) and for special occasions I finish it off with some condensed milk for a little extra richness and sweetness.
An handful of Black tea (I use Nilgiri)
600 ml water
300 ml Full fat milk
Rind of half an orange (or all the skin of a satsuma)
Stick of Cinnamon
14 Cardamom Pods
8 Black Pepper corns
1/2 a Nutmeg
1/2 an inch of Fresh Ginger
3 heaped tbs Jaggery (or soft brown sugar)
3tbs Condensed milk (optional)
Put all the ingredients, except the milk (and the condensed if using) in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the het down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. you can leave it for longer if you wish, don’t do it for over an hour or the tannins in the tea tend to get a little bitter.
Add the milk (condensed as well if using) and then bring back to the boil.
Taste for sugar and add a little more if needed. Then put into a teapot and serve using a tea strainer, or pop it in a cafetière and plunge.