Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lazy Chai

With the internet being down from 5am to noon today, you'd have thought I would have gotten some "real" work done. Not so. I did manage to waste over an hour making tea...
I love the chai masala tea that I make, but I don't always feel like going through that whole process of getting the pan dirty and making the whole 8 cup recipe I use. You can see below the Trikona brand masala and tea on the left that I use for the big recipe.  I bought some really expensive black tea with chai spices, and was not totally surprised to see inside the tin that it was (wait for it) black tea with chai spices. I could literally see recognizable bits of cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. And the tea looked remarkably like the Brooke Bond Red Label/Mamri that I use for the base of my recipe.

So, vowing never to pay $12 for 2 ounces of that tea again, I set off with my mini processor to replicate it. I used the spice ingredient list from the masala mix I had bought and was lucky to have all of the spices on hand (I make a lot of curries.)  Ginger was the only problem in that I had it ground or in root form - nothing that could be chopped up to make a dry mix. So I used powdered, and yes, it does settle out a bit.

I adjusted ratios a bit as I tasted it in the only way possible, adding more stuff to the bowl, which resulted in a near double batch to overcome my initial black peppering.  Estimated cost for the batch for the near pound of tea mix is about $3.

Although I used only half the 2lb. Red Label box, you can see that I'm set now for quite a while. And the epitome of laziness for brewing this tea - I use a pyrex measuring cup instead of a teapot.    My Belgian friend Gigi cringes when I tell her this, but I do at least put boiling water in it for 30 seconds and dump it before I put in the tea and the water I'll drink. So, cheers to laziness and to cheapness if the end results get you where you need to be.

Some days having a good cup of tea in hand sets the mood for the entire day.


  1. Willing to share the recipe? I love chai.

    1. I didn't actually write anything down or measure, but this was basically what went in. Sorry it's in English units:
      1 tablespoon cloves
      2 tablespoons cardamom
      5 4" cinnamon sticks (abused with mortar/pestle prior to grinder)
      ~20 black peppercorns
      1 tablespoon mustard seeds
      1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

      Run through spice or coffee grinder or processor.
      Mixed with about 1 pound Mamri/Red Label tea. I added the tea a bit at a time until the spice to tea blend came out pleasant but not overpowering. I would decrease the tea in the ration if I planned to add milk and sugar. This, I just drink as is.

      Good luck experimenting.