Creamy Masala Chai
I’ll never forget the first time I enjoyed a cup of classic masala chai tea. I was 20 years old and had just embarked on what would be the first of many trips to India in the decade that followed. It was about 5:00 in the morning and the overnight bus I was aboard from Delhi to the northern city of Dharamsala pulled over on the side of a road in a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. An early spring chill hung in the air, as well as the setting full moon. Those of us who were awake filed off the bus and gathered around a rustic tea stand. The owner stood over a single gas burner, tending to a pot of sweetened milk infused with black tea and spices. As soon as this brew was about to boil over, he briskly removed it from the heat and strained it into small shot glass sized cups. In exchange for 5 rupees (about 12 cents US at the time), I received some of this creamy, most wonderful chai.
I was so excited when I first brewed a cup of Arogya’s organic chai. It was the first tea blend I had stateside that parallels the rich and delicious cups I’ve enjoyed throughout the subcontinent. In brief, masala chai is a strong black tea (typically Ceylon and/ or Assam) mixed with aromatic spices, most often ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. It’s not uncommon to also find fennel seeds, star anise, and peppercorns thrown into the mix.
With winter on the way, now is a better time than ever to brew up a warming cup of chai. Plus, it’s a tasty treat to serve up before or after your Thanksgiving feast. For the creamiest tea, we recommend boiling the tea with one part water and one part whole milk. I’ve recently fallen in love with farm fresh Jersey cow milk. It not only tastes fantastic, but has also been found to have more digestible proteins than the Holstein cow milk predominantly sold across the United States. You can look for this rich dairy delight at your local health food store or farmers’ market. Chai is also delicious when made with dairy free alternatives such as soy, almond, cashew, coconut, or hemp milk. You can find our chai blend on our website or our tea shop in Westport, CT.
makes four 4oz servings
- 1 cup Water
- 1 cup Milk
- 1-2 tablespoons of Arogya Chai (use more for stronger chai)
- Optional: Sugar or Honey to taste
- Stir the milk, water, tea and sweetener (if using) together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When the tea concoction is about to boil over, remove from heat. Let steep for another moment or two.
- Filter the tea by pouring it through a mesh strainer. You can do this directly into cups for serving or into a teapot (or good old mason jar).
by Sophie Slater