masala chai (and the shelf of misfit teas)

by Patricia on October 12, 2009 · 5 comments


Welcome to my tea shelf. This is the place where teas go to die… or at least be forgotten. Jasmine, mint, detox, chai, rooibos, etc, etc. I love tea. I drink at least one cup most every day. And now that it is cooling off I drink it more often, sometimes just to warm my hands.

But I am stuck in a rut. I have countless options (well, I don’t want to count them) and yet I always go for the Irish/English breakfast teas (with a little milk and sugar). This morning I was about to reach for my usual “rut” tea when I stopped to look more closely at the tea graveyard. I felt a twinge of guilt. I put the breakfast tea back on the shelf and grabbed the masala chai instead.

I can remember buying the chai at World Market, excited that I’d have real chai tea at home. But then the chai was sentenced to the shelf because I couldn’t figure out how to make it taste remotely like what I’ve had at Indian restaurants, and rather than try to solve the problem I sent it to the shelf of misfit teas.


This morning I made a decision. It was time to resurrect some of these misfit teas. And I’m challenging myself to drink my way through some of these other teas before replacing the box of breakfast tea (which only has about a week’s worth left in it). I’m not crazy enough to say I’ll make it through the entire shelf before buying more tea, but I feel I owe it to myself and to the misfit teas to make a dent larger than the size of that box of Irish breakfast tea.


Masala chai

I actually managed to make a decent cup of chai this morning. It turns out I had not been adding enough sugar (go figure). I’d never claim this is authentic chai, but it tastes good to me. So without further ado, here is my new morning tea…

2 teaspoons loose masala chai tea
2 1/2 cups boiling water
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup milk


  • I used a french press, but it isn’t necessary
  1. Steep tea in hot water for four minutes.
  2. Add sugar, stir to dissolve.
  3. Add milk.
  4. Strain into your favorite cup and enjoy.

Serves 2.

Here are just a few of the blogs I like to read while enjoying a cup of tea:


1 Mental Mosaic November 7, 2009 at 9:10 am

I recognize that tangle of tea from my own kitchen! Sometimes I bring home a new selection, only to find that I already had it shoved way in the back somewhere…

This is my first trip to your blog. I found you via NaBloPoMo’s blog roll. I will be back to see how your month goes!

Nice to meet you! :)

2 rashmi October 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm

awesome!. Glad you liked it!. Yeah, I do like my tea a LOOT flavorful and strong, so yes I do add ginger and cardamom to it. It depends on your taste I guess!. I usually make mine with 1%, milk to water is approximately 1:1 . … try those fritters with those.. the Indian one’s. On a rainy day its delish!

3 Rashmi October 12, 2009 at 5:05 pm

We do it slightly differently.

1.Boil water
2. Add some ginger and cardamon , chai masala and sugar
3. Let boil for another 1/2 min
4. Add the tea leaves
5. Let boil for another min or so. (hmm, it should start smelling heavenly by now)
6. Add milk and lower the heat, heat for another min or more. I prefer mine sorta thick, so I let it boil for longer.

Strain :) and yeah- it goes well with those microwavable papads too :)

4 Patricia October 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

Thanks Rashmi :) I knew I wasn’t making it authentically (and I was wondering how to make it thicker)… I’ll give your method a try today, but the masala chai I have has tea leaves and all the spices mixed together (I got it at World Market, haha), is that what you mean when you say chai masala? do you add more ginger and cardamom to that?

5 Patricia October 14, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Ok, I tried it. I just the tea I have as is though because it has cardamom and a bunch of other spices mixed in with the tea leaves. I boiled it with sugar then added milk and boiled it longer. I don’t think I boiled it long enough or maybe 1% milk doesn’t thicken the same way? But the flavor was spectacular… much spicier than with the french press :)

Thanks Rashmi!

Previous post:

Next post: