Imagine frosty winter high in the mountains. Blowing wind on the passes over 4000 m. Yaks looking for the food, twirling snowflakes, sharp rocks around. People living in tents, or small huts near the roads, wearing woollen hats, socks, gloves. Trying to keep themselves warm in the bad weather.
Maybe it’s not the most optimistic introduction for the story about a tea. But this tea, masala chai – very sweet Indian tea with milk and spices, is one of the best ways for warming you up in the freezing temperatures of the high Himalayas in north India.
Apart from the high Himalayan passes, Masala chai is also very popular in the Indian towns of the lower altitudes, as well as in some of the Western countries.
However, for me, Masala Chai is strongly connected to this moment in the Indian Himalayas. We were driving through the mountains early in the morning, before sunrise, when the temperature was below 0 °C, going through the passes, where the wind tried to blow us away. There, at the top of the world, we were dreaming about a cup of a hot tea, that we could get from hospitable Tibetans and Indians or on the “tea stalls” around the way.
Or, when we finished the Himalayan trek in the late afternoon, tired after hiking the whole day – finally reaching the destination – and the first thing we receive was a big pot of hot tea – it gives so much happiness!
Masala chai is great for cold Autumn evenings and upcoming winter days. Pair it up with a delicious Indian dish like this tea-infused vegan Chana Masala and enjoy the trip to India from the comfort of your home.
How to make Indian Masala Chai
You can easily make your own masala chai tea at home. Of course, it would be the best to have original black Indian tea and the special mix of spices, but you can do it by using ordinary black tea (better quality = better taste) and mix the spices by yourself.
For making masala tea you need:
-black tea (the best are tea leaves)
-spices: cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger
I am not giving you specific measures for everything, as you can adjust it to your liking.
There are also many different ways of making this tea in India. Moreover, you can find tea similar to this one, but without spices, which is called milk tea. It’s just tea, milk and a lot of sugar, but all cooked together, which gives is the specific taste. It is usually served on the way high in the mountains, as it is not always easy to get all the spices there.
The tea is supposed to be cooked in the pot and it is very important to cook all the ingredients together. In the beginning, you need to put some tea leaves and pour cold water, then heat it up for the tea to brew. After that, add the spices, milk and sugar. Boil it all together and cook for a while for the tea to get the aroma from the spices. At the end, filter it through the strainer to have clear tea, and enjoy the warming taste.
Do you like Masala Chai? Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments!