Friday, 10 July 2015

easy peasy masala chai, to counteract the London heat!

So the temperature is rising again. I say this sadly because...well, we're just not equipped to deal with heat in England. Our trains stop running properly, people turn pink at twenty degrees and start undressing to criminal levels. Last week I thought I'd pass out, and literally drank about six litres of water just to stay cool. I had never felt so unbearably hot in my entire life! I contemplated climbing into my fridge. Yes, I sure did. If I'd had the energy to even hold one, I'd need a parasol right about now to go outside. 

Of course cold drinks are like nectar on these hot days but if you've grown up in an Asian household, most likely you've had chai quite a bit on hot days. Tea surprisingly has cooling properties from the spice elements. I'll spare you the science - but in case you're interested, here's an article by tea-drinking cool dude Joe Palca testing this theory. Every South Asian family makes masala chai a different way and will sometimes have their very own blend of spices. Even if you just add one spice it's still considered masala chai. My mum makes it with evaporated milk or powdered milk - which is delicious, but I just use regular milk.

My version includes cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, all slightly crushed before being simmered in two parts water to one part milk. See, it's super easy! You don't even need a measuring jug. The rule of thumb is to allow a little extra liquid for the brewing process and the tea leaves as the liquid will evaporate slightly. Use the cup you'll be drinking from to pour the milk and water, adding a little extra half cup or so of water for every two cups.

All you need is something to slightly bash the spices with and release some of the oil. If you don't have a pestle and mortar don't despair. Improvise. Use a rolling pin, or a tin of something - I won't tell;) Since we're not making a spice blend it doesn't matter. I'll save that for another day, as I know you fickle folk will want something new. I defy you not to love it. 

Ingredients (makes about 4 cups)
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tsp of loose tea - preferably Assam (or 3 teabags)
6 cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon (about 2 inches long)
1/2 square inch of ginger
4 tsp of sugar (or to taste)

In a pan add water and bring to the boil

lightly crush all the spices and ginger with a pestle and mortar and add to the water along with the loose tea.

When the tea and spice mix has brewed for a few minutes and milk along with sugar.

Simmer for 5-7 mins on medium heat and serve with pakoras if you've made them from my post last week.

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