Dubai: If you have been wondering why the spices or masala in your masala chai lack flavour, then you could be brewing it wrong. There are a few cardinal rules when making Indian or desi chai, especially when it comes to masala or spices – whole or blended.
Brewing a cup of masala chai or tea takes no more than 10 minutes. What should you brew first, and when is the right time to add the tea leaves? These are essential questions to ask. Here are quick tips to make sure you always have a perfect brewed cup of masala chai to keep you going.
1. Make a spice brew first if you are using whole spices and herbs: If you are pounding fresh ginger, black pepper, cinnamon stick for your tea, then brew these whole spices in water for a couple of minutes. Once it begins releasing an aroma, add tea leaves. However, if you are using blended chai masala powder, add it towards the end, once you have brewed the tea in milk and water. Turn off the flame, add masala chai powder, cover it with a lid for 10 to 15 seconds and let the heat infuse the flavours. Remember, do not let it rest for long, or else the tannin in tea could make it bitter.
Note: If you are using dry ginger powder or sonth in your masala chai mix or as a whole, add it only after brewing the tea. Dry ginger tends to leave a bitter taste if cooked or boiled for too long, and it is best to let it infuse naturally rather than on direct flame.
2. Don’t add cold milk: Two things could happen if you add cold milk to the hot brew. It could either curdle or dampen the flavour of the spices. Heating milk too quickly can curdle it, so it is best to bring milk to a boil over low to medium heat. If you are using cold milk, heat it up on a gas stove on low to medium heat and then add it to the tea brew. A kitchen hack to avoid milk curdling while heating - add a tablespoon of water to the pot or utensil and then add milk to it and boil.
Another essential thing to remember here is to avoid heating the milk in a microwave. It could seem like an easy option, but could result in your tea tasting slightly metallic.
Note: To make the brewing process simpler, get yourself a milk warmer to heat milk in. Once your spice brew and tea leaves begin boiling, just pour in warm milk to it, add sugar to taste, stir and give it one quick boil. Your masala chai is ready.
If you are looking for a recipe to brew the perfect cup of chai, here it is - The best Mumbai Masala Chai by our Editor.
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