5 October, 2015
Masala Chai: Spiced tea, for a fall day
‘Did you notice the leaves turning yellow?” commented J, my colleague at work. That was middle of August. “You are not saying what you are saying, are you?’ I retorted. I strengthened my argument by putting forward the other causes of leaves turning yellow, for example drought. Who was I kidding though. I knew for certain that it was the beginning of fall. It didn’t matter that people were still on summer holidays, that the snow just melted not that long ago or even the official ‘fall’ was still more than a month away. This was northern Canada. It is said if you blink long enough you may miss the summer!
Come September there was no denying that it was not drought that caused the yellow leaves, the summer was done for this year. There was a chill in the air. Vegetable gardens were harvested, apple pies were baked, fleece jackets were back and Costco proudly displayed their Halloween supplies.
Now Chai ( Tea ), doesn’t need a season to be enjoyed. There is no denying the magic of a hot cup of tea on a cold day though. N and I packed some tea and snacks before we went out for a short drive to take in the colours of fall. There was yellow and red and everything in between. It was as if the nature’s way to go on an overdrive with colours, for the next six months will be only white, and more white. The calm before the storm…
Tea is something that memory is made out of. Who can forget the the night of burning midnight oil to prepare for the exam next morning, when the cup of tea is your loyal friend. Tea is needed to start the day, at the end of a hard day’s work. What about that boring day when nothing seems to be in your favour? Tea is what we break a bad news over or break the ice with. I can’t forget how as teenagers we giggled just because our Uncle R slurped his tea or Aunty P blew her hot tea so hard that we all avoided sitting next to her to save our dresses!
Here it is friends. This is how we enjoy the cuppa!
Tea bags ( Lipton’s yellow label ) Two
Cardamom pods, crushed Two
Evaporated milk Half cup
Cinnamon sticks Two, one powdered
Granulated Sugar Two tsps
Water One and half cup
Bring the water with the crushed cardamom, powdered cinnamon to boil, about 4 minutes. Throw in the tea bags, continue boiling for another 2 minutes.. Add the milk. The boiling will stop temporarily. Bring it to boil again, about a minute, taking care not to let the mixture spill over. Turn the gas to medium and get another boil, if needed turn the gas lower to avoid the spill.
In a mug take a teaspoon of sugar. Pour the tea into the mug through a sieve. Garnish with the Cinnamon stick and serve piping hot.
Take away the cinnamon stick before drinking.
White sugar can be substituted with Palm sugar, honey, Splenda, brown sugar or any other sweetener of your choice.
Grated ginger can be added with the boiling water for Adrak ( Ginger ) tea.
Every family has their favourite blend of spice. Apart from cardamom and cinnamon, mace or even a combination of spices are sometimes added.
Try and adjust to your taste.
I prefer evaporated milk or Homo milk. One can also go with cream.