Thursday, October 6, 2016

Masala Chai


Masala Chai is one of my oldest child's favorite teas, it's also one of my favorites. In the Fall and Winter we'll make some in the cool mornings. I put some in a travel mug for her to take to school. This can easily be done on the stove top or in the pressure cooker. I started doing it in the pressure cooker because on the stove top it can boil over so you have to baby sit it a little bit more. Making sure you don't let the bottom scorch is another thing to watch for using the stove top method. But both methods yield a flavorful spiced Masala Chai, both easy enough for my child to do on her own. Granted the boiling over was an issue the first few times. But she got better at it as the school year passed.
Masala Chai Spices
Spices in the above picture from left to right:
Mace, you can also use grated nutmeg, I have done both.
Star Anise
Black Peppercorns
Cloves
Green Cardamom
Orange zest
All Spice berries
Ginger
Cinnamon


The overnight method makes for a spicier cup of tea, which we like. You can get a spicier cup by simmering the spices longer on the stove top also. It's really your preference. This is a method. Use more or less of the spices you like. If you like more tea, add that. I use bags because I use decaffeinated black tea. I haven't found a loose leaf that is decaffeinated that we like.

Masala Chai spices and tea.
 As you can see what I use varies with each batch depending on what I have on had or what we are in the mood for. The batch in the above picture has grated ginger and grated nutmeg. I also added rock sugar. 
Bruised and a little crushed the spices release more flavor.
This batched cooked all at once for seven minutes in the Instant Pot. This method works great if I don't have more time.



Masala Chai

(Makes four cups)
1 cup water
1 slice ginger, about 1/2" x 1 inch (dried is also great)
1 cinnamon stick, about 3"
1-2 strips of orange zest, just the zest not the white pith
6-10 Whole Black Peppercorns 
3-4 Whole Green Cardamom (bruised)
4 Whole Allspice berries
3-4 whole Cloves 
1 star anise
1/8-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, grated (OR a couple pieces of mace)
3-6 black tea bags
3 cups milk, dairy or almond, etc
Sweetener of choice, honey, sugar, coconut sugar, etc.
This recipe is a guide, use as little of the spices, or more to your taste. 

Freezer Tip: I keep ginger slices and citrus zest in the freezer. Find more Freezer Tips here.

Stove Top Method

(Over night method produces a spicier flavored cup of chai )
  1. Bruise whole spices until just broken.
  2. Place water and spices into a small pot. 
  3. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer.
  4. Turn heat off and cover the pot until morning.  
  5. In the morning add tea and milk.
  6. Bring pot back up to heat until the contents start to steam, and you see just a small amount of bubbles on the edges of the pan.
  7. Turn the heat off, let the contents steep for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, sweeten to taste, and serve.
To make this all at once:
  1. Bruise whole spices until just broken.
  2. Place water and spices into a small pot. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn the pot down to a simmer. 
  4. Simmer for 3 minutes, 
  5. Add tea and milk.
  6. Bring pot back up to heat until the contents start to steam, and you see just a small amount of bubbles on the edges of the pan.
  7. Turn the heat off, let the contents steep for 3-4 minutes.
  8. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, sweeten to taste, and serve.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Bruise whole spices until just broken.
  2. Place one cup of water into the Instant Pot liner.
  3. Place the spices and one cup of water into a Instant Pot safe bowl. I use a four cup Pyrex measuring cup. 
  4. Put the measuring cup on top of the trivet. 
  5. Cook uncovered on HIGH pressure for 3-6 minutes, according to how spiced you want your tea.
  6. Do a quick release, open the lid and add milk and tea to the cup.
  7. Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure.
  8. Let sit for about 5 minutes, and release the remaining pressure in the put by turning the vent knob to open.
  9. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  10. Sweeten to taste.
* You can also place ALL the ingredients into the cup at once, and cook on HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. The tea won't be as spicy, but it's perfect for when we're in a hurry.

(Overnight Instant Pot method)
  1. Bruise whole spices until just broken.
  2. Place one cup of water into the Instant Pot liner.
  3. Place the spices and one cup of water into a Instant Pot safe bowl. I use a four cup Pyrex measuring cup. 
  4. Put the measuring cup on top of the trivet. 
  5. Cook uncovered on HIGH pressure for one minute.
  6. Turn off the Instant Pot and let this sit overnight. 
  7. In the morning add milk and tea to the spices.
  8. Cook for 5 minutes on HIGH pressure.
  9. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure.
  10. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  11. Sweeten to taste.


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