Sep 23, 2009

Masala Chai

My Gourmet magazine came in the mail yesterday, and may I say, if there is a magazine that deserves to go under in this blighted economy – it’s that one. To read a complete recipe, you have to flip through more pages than a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Then, when you’ve flipped back and forth ten times, you find an ingredient or two (or all) that you have never seen or heard of in your life and that is impossible to get, thus causing you to ditch the entire recipe. Dried rose hips? Really? Annatto seeds? And then they have articles like “if you had $1000 to spend on a meal in your city, where would you splurge $700 on dinner?” Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t bank executives been skewered by the media for less? Is that really appropriate for this economy – or any economy? And every recipe requires every pot and pan in the cupboard, along with one or two specialty items that NO ONE HAS…

Ok, enough of my diatribe against Gourmet. I could go on (I really could), but I’d rather tell you about the one appealing recipe I found before I chucked the rest of that pretentious rot in the bin: Masala Chai. And I still had to tweak the recipe to be more user-friendly, and spicier (they forgot to add the cayenne chili powder, which makes Chai so much better).

Masala Chai for Two

½ tsp ground cardamom (or 5 pods, seeded and ground)
1/4th tsp ground cinnamon
2 white peppercorns
1/8th tsp fennel seeds
1 cups milk
1 tsp dark brown sugar (or to taste)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8th ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 cups water
2 teabags strong black tea

Need a mortar and pestle

Grind together cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and fennel seeds.
Bring milk to a simmer (careful not to boil over!) in a heavy saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, spice mix, ginger and 1/8th tsp salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
Brew tea using the 1 cup water and 2 teabags. (really easy to do in a microwave)
Add the tea to the milk mixture and cook over low heat for a minute.
Pour chai through a tea strainer into your cup or teapot.


Wanderluster said...

Thanks for the tirade. I actually found it quite amusing! There are just some times when it's appropriate :-)

And thanks for the Chai recipe. I'm going to bookmark this one. I'm leaving for India in 2 weeks and when I return, I know I'll want more chai!

Pocketmouse said...

For some reason we were subscribed (free) to it for about a year (2007-2008) and apart from the pictures I didn't think it was a particularly good magazine, but then I'm very hard to please.

On masala chai: Every woman has her concoction of masala for tea in India. This is fascinating and sounds very foreign to me. But masala is masala. When my mom gets here I'll get her version. I think the only common ingredient is cardamom! I have a feeling she also uses cloves in hers. I'll find out!!

love the picture :-)

LV said...

Yes, you have to get the real deal from your mom! Parker cheats and uses a pre-made blend, but his turns out really good (when he doesn't overdo the cayenne).

Lady P said...

ohh you are so funny and ever so right - i never have half of what they call for, and i am not in anyway a complete kitchen slacker
this looks lovely, i miss good chai up here where it all comes in an annoying waxed box and way way too sweet