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Author Notes: There is no single formula for Chai spice. it varies from brand to brand & home to home. Indian Masala tea comes in many many flavors and every one of them is deliciously unique. From a simple addition of smashed fresh Ginger root & crushed cardamom to complex blends incorporating a dozen spices.. My preferred method of ginger root & cardamom only gets me so far as a cup of chai, so I cobbled up a mix of 5 spices (inspired by Chef Raghavan Iyers newly launched line of spices, turmeric trail).. While its near impossible to decipher the exact proportions of the spices used in the commercial version, I used the list of ingredients on the package to come up with my own. Its been through a rigorous set of testing on regular spiced chai as well as experiments with hot chocolate , a version of chai spiced shortbread, and my thanksgiving apple and pear pie!. The flavor of the blend is pretty intense and all you need is about 1/4 th of a tsp for a strong cup of chai or chocolate. Classic case of a little goes a looong way. Its not worth making larger quantities unless you're planning to make industrial amounts of tea. —Panfusine
Makes ~ 2 tablespoons
- 2-4 cardamom pods (seeds only)
- 6-7 cloves
- 1 stick cassia cinnamon (1 cm x 4 cm in area), broken into tiny pieces
- 8-10 black peppercorns (smashed)
- 1 tablespoon dried ginger powder
- In a small cast iron skillet, add the cardamom seeds, cloves, smashed peppercorn and the cinnamon pieces & toast them over a gentle heat till the spices begin emitting their characteristic aroma. Transfer the spices into a stone mortar and allow to cool down slightly.
- Add the ginger powder & pound until the spices have ground into a fine powder. Sieve the masala using a fine tea stainer. transfer the bigger bits of spices back to the mortar & repeat the process of pounding & sieving until you're left with very little spice grit (which you can toss into any stew or dish you're planning to make). Sore in an airtight container.