When the pandemic was officially called in March 2020, I ordered an Aeropress coffee maker, a coffee grinder and an electric milk frother. I (briefly) became obsessed with the perfect grind size and pressing techniques. Every morning, I would scoop the whole roasted beans into the top of the slim hand grinder and feel a strange happiness as the beans slowly turned into powder under the crush of the ceramic burr. Our daily routines had shifted overnight but I could still be in control over my morning cup of coffee. In two months, it will be a year of living amidst a pandemic. I still enjoy grinding my own coffee, although I like having ground coffee at home too.
And then recently, I was craving something different and I remembered masala chai. Not your basic orange pekoe with milk but tea that has a kick to it.
Try it for yourself.
In a saucepan, add 1-2 black teabags (i.e. Tetley), 2 cloves, 3 cardamons, 1 star anise, 4-6 peppercorns, a small cinnamon stick, a teaspoon of fennel seeds and a couple of slices of fresh ginger (no need to peel). Bring it all to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it steep for at least 10 minutes. Everything about this recipe is an approximation. You can add more or less of the spices depending on what you have on hand or your own preferences. I just modified the recipe here if you want more detailed instructions. When you’re ready to drink your masala chai, strain the spices and teabag and reheat. Add half a glass of milk or more or less and heat. Or what I like to do is put that milk frother to work. Add honey or another sweetener and enjoy it in your favourite mug.