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Masala Chai
January 17, 2011

I don't know if there's a "correct" way, but I find it much more flavorful & satisfying if I use several times as much spice, and boil everything together for some time. For a large 20-ounce mugful, I start with probably 30 ounces of water, 2 heaping teaspoons "CTC style" loose black tea, 3-4 cardamom pods, probably 10-15 whole cloves, 10-15 whole peppercorns, and a 2-3 inch cinnamon stick. I find that any powdered or ground spice adds an unpleasant "thickness" that coats my tongue. I put the tea and all the spices together in the water, and bring to a boil, then continue to boil for 5 or more minutes. At some point I scoop in about 2 tablespoons or so of white sugar and bring back to the boil. Pour in some whole milk till the tea is the proper rich reddish brown color, remove from the heat and strain into a cup. If boiled after the milk is added, a skin can develop on the surface but you can scrape this off and the tea is still fine. Of course you can experiment with different amounts of everything, but I think boiling importantly releases more flavor than just steeping.

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