Iced Masala Chai

Iced Masala Chai 1

Oh summer! How much I longed for you. How I wished and prayed for you to come visit. How I hoped for the sun to shine upon me and how I craved to put away my coats and gloves and pull out my bags of shorts, carefully hidden in the back of my closet. I had all these plans to bathe in your sunshine and had dreamt of not leaving my backyard for days. And then you came with all your glory. Oh, you came with all you glory! And now I wanna run away from you and hide in the bottom of a pool or glue myself to the air conditioning that my house doesn’t have (lucky me!).

Iced Tea
All this was still alright as you were much awaited until you snatched the cup of my hot masala tea I relished every evening with a slice of banana cardamom cake. That made things a little cruel, I have to say. Not many have the capacity of taking that cup of evening chai away from me but to savor a cup of anything steaming hot on this hot, hot summer is close to torture. But to completely stay away from the warmth of masala mixed in a creamy cup of chai is impossible too. So I had to improvise. I used the same spices, boiled it with my favorite tea but instead poured it in a bottle and chilled it in my refrigerator and fooled the summer!

Mint and Lemon

Chai Masala

Typically Indian homes use a pre-made chai masala powder, where every family has their own set of favorite spices. Dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, fennel, star anise are typically used to make this masala. These spices ground together in a ratio based on taste preference. Just a few pinches on chai masala in the end mixed to chai before straining into mugs makes all the difference.

Iced Tea with Milk
For this Iced tea I used whole spices though because I wanted a mild flavor of spices and also because I had run out of my stock of chai masala in my pantry. I also picked the spices I believed will suit my family’s palette. Feel free to add or take out the spices of your choice. You can add extra flavor to the chai by adding milk, fresh herbs or citrus of choice. I like my iced tea with a few teaspoons of coconut milk, Abhishek likes his with mint leaves mulled with lemon juice. You can use this concentrate to make hot tea also. Just mix it with some hot milk and serve with biscuits on the side. So basically feel free to use your imagination and play around with all sorts of flavor combinations but beware, iced or hot call it Masala Chai only!

Iced Masala Chai
Ingredients:
5 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
2 inches fresh ginger root (sliced or coarsely chopped)
10 green cardamom (smashed)
8-10 cloves (whole)
4-5 tablespoon brown sugar (can substitute with a choice of sweetener like honey, agave, coconut palm sugar)
6-7 Tetley Black & Green tea bags
Additional flavors that I tried and tasted great with the tea-
A few teaspoons milk. Coconut and soy are my personal favorite. You can use a milk of your choice.
A few crushed mint leaves.
A squirt or a couple slices of lemon.

Method:
In a medium sized saucepan bring water to a rolling boil.
Add the spices, sugar and tea bags. Turn the heat off. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Longer if you prefer a stronger taste of spices.
Strain hot tea through a strainer. Let it cool a little and then transfer to a flask or pitcher.
Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
To serve, fill a glass with ice. Pour the tea. Add milk or lemon juice and mint or enjoy as it is on a hot summer day!

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