Masala Chai Concentrate and a Straining Saucepan Giveaway

Masala Chai Concentrate

I had just moved into an apartment with a kitchen during my student days. I barely knew to cook and along with my roommates  had just set up our kitchen- a rented fridge, a small gas stove and a toaster oven and a few pots, pans, spices and bags of lentils we had each brought from our mother's kitchens.
We were fully set and felt all grown up, even though none of us had as yet accomplished cooking anything more than rice and dal, and that was dinner on most days. We didn't really feel the need to learn anything more, as when we got tired of dal, restaurants delivering delicious and cheap but greasy food right to your home and even ladies who cooked healthy meals for us "bachelors" (and bachelorettes) were only a phone call or a short walk away.
But on that rainy Sunday, my roommates and I were stuck at home, with a yearning for masala chai.

Masala chai or spiced ginger tea is popular and easily available at tea stalls all over India. It tastes best drunk out of little cut- glass tumblers on a crowded street full of life and color and is a great picker upper when you are tired after a long day, or a chilly, rainy one. On that bleak, grey morning many years ago, we began to talk about masala chai and I grew increasingly desperate for some.

The only problem was that I had no idea how to make tea, so I had to look it up in a cookbook, (my first ever), a used copy of Modern Cookery picked up on a whim from a pavement book seller near Besant Nagar Beach, because I remembered seeing it on my mom's bookshelf.

Luckily we found a bag of loose tea leaves and the required spices among the stuff our mothers had packed for us and I followed the steps that included filling a saucepan with "fresh bubbling water" from the tap. Thank you and your detailed instructions Thangam E. Philip!
I boiled milk along with twice the amount of water, added a piece of smashed ginger, pepper, cloves, cardamon and cinnamon on our little stove. I waited until it came to a rapid boil, then threw in a teaspoon of of tea leaves for every cup of tea as Ms Thangam instructed me to, then turned down the heat and let it simmer and then boil alternately until the tea and spices infused the tea with warmth and strength as I had seen the chaiwallahs ( tea stall man in North India, called chaya kada karan in the South) do.

That first cup of tea was absolutely wonderful, and soon my roommates and I discovered that a steaming cup of spiced ginger tea and a warm piece of toast spread with cold butter or jam was one of the best things in life to wake up to. For some reason I became the official chaiwallah of the house, followed by which I soon mastered or atleast became familiar with cooking some simple things. Ofcourse there were lots of disasters too, and sometimes even today, but they all help me learn what not to do!

Masala Chai Concentrate

Many years have passed and I no longer need a cookbook to make chai, and today, cooking is no longer a necessity for me, but more of an obsession!

Whenever my mother in law comes to stay with us, tea and toast is our little ritual that we share before we begin the day and whenever the weather is chilly, and especially when one of us is fighting a cold, she asks me to make my "special" masala chai.
The steam opens up blocked nasal passages, and the spices soothe and heal a sore throat. Along with Mummy's special blend of homeopathic remedies, a warm cup of the masala chai is sure to chase away colds.

This masala tea concentrate is for those days when you need that spicy kick in your tea, but are short on time. I boil the spices in water before hand, cool the liquid and store it in a bottle in the fridge. I only make a little at a time, but you can increase the amount to make for the week ahead. Pour it into a pretty bottle and the beautiful golden red liquid would also make a nice gift for the tea lovers in you life.

I can also see many other uses for the concentrate,to poach fruits, make into a syrup for desserts, maybe even in savory cooking uses.

Masala Chai Concentrate

Update: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The GitiaDini Straining Saucepan is perfect for making this masala chai concentrate because it has deep pour spouts and  a strainer inbuilt. Such a clever idea, making it ideal to cook rice, pasta, vegetables, soup and anything else that may require pouring and straining, without needing a separate colander or strainer. If you want to strain very finely, ( for example tiny tea leaves) you may find the holes a little large and may want to use a mesh strainer, but for most things like rice, pasta, vegetables and larger spices like those used in this spice concentrate  it works great. I wish it came with a lid, but was happy to find that I had several lids from other pans at home that fit perfectly.

I like that the sides are also slightly rounded making it easy to stir things and it is just the right size at 2 quarts- making me reach for it often. It has a nice heft to it and is well made. I have had it for about two weeks and so far I have used this pot almost exclusively for all kinds of things and would definitely recommend it.

My Photo
I am happy that the lovely people at GitaDini  giving away a Straining Saucepan to one of Magpie's Recipes' readers.
Here is how you can enter the giveaway and gain extra entries:

1. To enter: Leave one comment on this post telling me what you would use the straining saucepan for
2. Extra Entries: Like or follow Magpie's Recipes on FacebookTwitterGoogleplus or Pinterest and leave a comment saying you did,  a separate comment for each
3. Extra Entries: Like or follow GitaDini on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus, Pinterest, and leave a comment here saying you did, a separate comment for each
4. Extra entries: Share, tweet or pin this giveaway and leave a separate comment saying that you did for each

The contest will close on March 31st and winners will be announced shortly after and the saucepan will be shipped by GitaDini to any address here in the US. Winners will be chosen using random, so the more entries you have, the more likely you are to win. Make sure you have a US address if you take part!

If you want to check out all the other cool products by GitaDini like the Rotito Roti Rolling Board set and the fun Ying Yang spice box, visit their website.

Recipe for Masala Chai Concentrate
Yield: Enough concentrate for two cups of tea, increase proportionately to make more

Ingredients:
  • Water 2 1/2 cups 
  • Cinnamon 1 stick
  • Ginger 1 inch piece smashed with the heel of your knife or in a mortar and pestle ( no need to grind, just smash it once or twice to release juices)
  • or Ginger powder 1/4 tsp
  • Cloves 6
  • Cardamom 6
  • Whole Pepper corns 10 or 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Instructions:
  • Add the spices to the water and bring to a boil on medium heat.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 mins to infuse the water with the spices
  • Cool,strain, bottle and store in the fridge.

When you want to make your tea, just  pour a cupfull of the concentrate into a mug,
Add a dash of milk ( I add only about 2 tablespoons of milk, increase if you like your tea more milky) to the concentrate,
Heat until boiling ( 2 mins on high in the microwave should do)
Add a tea bag and let it infuse for 2 to 4 mins depending on how strong you like your tea.
Enjoy a cupfull of bliss :)

You can use spices of your choice- (ground nutmeg or dried mint would be a great addition), some people prefer to leave out the pepper as it can be a little prominent.
Use a black tea you like to drink, I have used Darjeeling, orange pekoe or even Mummy's favorite Twinings Earl Grey tea.

Please note: I received no compensation from GitaDini  or anyone else to write this review for the sample saucepan they sent me. All opinions are strictly my own, from the two weeks that I have rigorously used this saucepan.

76 comments:

  1. beautiful picture, Rose! Coincidentally my last post is also on masala chai- great minds think alike!

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    Replies
    1. haha that's great Jehanne! Will go check it out :)

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  2. Lovely post Rose! and beautiful pictures as always!....I would love to have one of these straining saucepan!.... :) to make herb infused teas for sure.....and i love making ginger tea and masala chai a lot. <3 :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking part Smitha! All the best :))I love masala chai too!

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  3. you are in my circles in Google plus! :)

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  4. following Gitadini on Google plus! :)

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  5. and following on Piterest! :) Wow you are going to get lots of comments! and thats the most comments i left on anyone's post! haha!

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  6. Wow wat an beautiful spiced ginger tea;

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  7. beautiful pics...i made ginger tea as per ur instructions just now...came out well..lovely post,Rose.i lov ginger tea and dried ginger coffee too..please follow my blog also and let me know ur valuable suggestions and comments.

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  8. Rose- you make spices look even more beautiful than ever ;-)
    I look forward to sharing a cup of tea with you soon and congratulations on your lovely give away!

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    Replies
    1. I am looking so forward to meeting you too Patty!

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  9. oh Rose you wrote about the starting days while you were a student, i feel i'm back to those kind of days, long holiday in India i forgot the C of cooking, seriously i struggle so much even to cook day to day's meal, brrr that is why i'm forcing myself to read all your blog to get some inspiration..hope this helps...beautiful picture girl...i brought three roses nature infused tea to make chai i'm so not sure if at all i will open that box, that rosy coloured syrup you have made is just gorgeous i will try it for my dutch friends who want to drink dhood patti chai, rather than chai patti chai ;) even after i tried to explain we don't get dhood patti's!

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    Replies
    1. I was hoping to see you in CBE Ananda looks like I will now have to make a Europe trip to meet you!I like 3 roses too! Have not heard of dhood patti chai lol!

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  10. I always enjoy reading your stories and your top photo is so beautiful!

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  11. what a gorgeous idea for the sauce pan. and i love your inverted baking dish idea too :)

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    Replies
    1. Not an original one Nags, have seen it done and wanted to try!

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  12. I had never thought of making a masala chai concentrate. Loved the deep red colour. Looks fantastic :)

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  13. I'm excited about tomorrow. Love the spice shots. I have a hard time finding some of those spices out here, maybe I can stock up tomorrow with you ladies. Tea is my drink, I've never made my own chai tea at home and I think it's time I do. The pot sounds great for draining pasta.
    -Gina-

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    Replies
    1. Was so fun to meet up Gina! Make cardamom chai soon!

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  14. Infusing cream to make tasty whipped cream

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  15. I would use the lovely straining saucepan to make sauces that I am flavoring with things like cardamon that I then want to strain out.

    margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com

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  16. I like Magpie's Recipes on Facebook as Margot Core

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  17. I follow you on Twitter as @AnnaZed

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  19. I follow you on Pinterest as Margot Core

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  20. I like GitaDini on Facebook as Margot Core

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  21. I follow GitaDini on Twitter as @AnnaZed

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  22. I follow GitaDini on Googleplus as Marguerite Core

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  23. I follow GitaDini on Pinterest as Margot Core

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  24. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/AnnaZed/status/310314775248781312

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    I hope I did that right (it seems excessive); I love your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This looks absolutely gorgeous, Rose. What a lovely ritual to have with your mother in law -- my mother in law lives far away, so when she flies in (or when we travel to see them in Texas), I look forward to sharing tea with her, too. We sit, we chat, after the kids have gone to bed. You've just reminded me how much I miss her! I will have to serve her this when we see each other again.

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  26. Thank you Liren! Hope you meet up with your mom in law soon :)

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  27. Lovely giveaway Rose! I am loving the beautiful maroon colour in the picture. It reminds me of Sulaiman Tea I used to drink at Ente Keralam Restaurant in India. You have tempted me to do a post on Sulaiman Tea :-)

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    Replies
    1. You MUST Viji :) I loved Ente Keralam in Chennai :)

      Delete
  28. Hey Rose,
    Lovely recipe and a giveaway to compliment it. I don't fancy tea with milk and sugar. I make masala chai every evening for the husband.But never thought of making a concentrate. I'm sure gonna make this. Makes life easy. This pan rules out the use of a strainer, also dishwasher safe. I would love to win this pan simply cos I love good kitchen gadgets. Thanks so much for hosting the giveaway.

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  29. I follow you on pinterest, twitter and googleplus

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  30. I follow Gitadini on facebook, pinterest, googleplus and twitter

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  31. I have share this post on pinterest, twitter, facebook and googleplus.

    ReplyDelete
  32. What a great ritual, Rose. Lovely photos,of the chai and the ingredients, too. Haven't spoken to you in a while just dropping to say hi. I hope all is well my friend.

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    Replies
    1. Thanka Shulie! All is well, exciting but busy times!

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  33. Oh...how convenience. :) Love this straining saucepan! If I win, I'll use it to strain my fresh thyme simple syrup for ice tea and thyme lemon sorbet. :)

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

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  34. Following Magpie's Recipes on Facebook

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  38. Liked GitaDini on Facebook

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  42. Looks lovely. I never knew that u add pepper to chai...that shd kick up the zing many notches!!!

    Shobha

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  43. Beautiful pictures, Rose. Thanks for entering DMBLGiT this month! :)

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