I♥CC: A Tea Party with Madhur Jaffrey-Masala Chai~

3 11 2012

It’s time for a tea party at I♥CC this week.  Like many of us, I also selected Masala Chai as my tea.  I used the recipe found on page 196 of Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.   I selected Masala Chai because I wanted to taste what all these pre-prepped chai options are supposed to taste like.  I’m a fan of tea: hot, cold and in-between.  The two of us drink about a gallon and a half of green and herbal tea daily.  Chai was a bonus…I got to drink it still hot!

I had never occurred to me to steep my spices before my tea was introduced to the hot water, but it sure makes sense.  This is the collection of dry spices that were steeped in simmering water.  After simmering awhile, sugar and milk are added to the mix and brought back to a simmer.  The tea leaves are added last and are steeped off the heat.

I chose Darjeeling tea as my black tea mainly because I had noticed Ms. Jaffrey recommended it in another Masala Chai recipe I’d read.  I picked up half a dozen tea samples after getting acquainted with the concept of teas back when I read “Death by Darjeeling” for Cook the Books.  Somehow, I just knew all these little tastes would come in handy!  Harney & Sons’ Guide to Tea says this about Darjeeling teas:

“Darjeelings also have more tropical fruit flavors like pineapple and guava, and a little more bite than Chinese Black teas from their more hastened oxidation.”  Additionally, they recommend they be brewed at lower temperatures than the Assam regional teas, in the 190 to 212 degree range.  The recipe calls for just about that temperature!

Tasting Notes~
We thoroughly enjoyed this tea!  It was enough for two, easily.  There was still a bit of a tannin bite even with the addition of the milk.  I used whole milk, and I think I’d have liked it with low-fat milk a little better.  We both found the spice combination utterly fabulous and very enjoyable.  Does that mean we’ll like commercial chais?  I don’t know, but I’m more willing to step out and give them a try.  Meanwhile, I have no problem tossing a few spices in a pot of water!