Tag Archives: cardamon

Masala Chai – My Way

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I’m not a purest, and I can’t tell you this is a truly traditional recipe for masala chai (India’s favourite spiced tea) , but it’s kinda close, and it’s utterly delicious.

Making a cup of chai has become a ritual different to coffee making. It offers a heart warming pick-me-up that I find irresistible when I’m feeling flat. I like it strong with spices and sweetened with honey. And now that I make my own spice mix I can never go back to store bought chai tea bags, they just don’t cut it.

I’ve used cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried ginger (you could try fresh), black pepper corns and star anise to make my version of masala chai. It can be pounded in the mortar and pestle, but a spice grinder will make quick work of the job. If using a spice grinder keep it to a chunky consistency.

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This amount will make a medium size jar of the spice mix, which will make about 30 cups of strong chai, or even more cups if you like it a a lesser strength. It’s easy to double or triple the recipe of the spice mix for larger amounts, and it stores well for several months in an airtight glass jar.

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Masala chai – my way

Make a special trip to a good spice store were you know the spices are fresh.

Ingredients 

10g cloves

20g cardamon pods

40g cinnamon quills

20g dried ginger (also called kibbled ginger)

2g black or white peppercorns

15g star anise

Combine all the spices, place in a pan and roast over a dry heat for several minutes, set aside to cool. Place the spices in a mortar and pestle and pound to a fine consistency, or use a spice grinder to do the hard work (don’t grind it too fine though). Store the spice mix in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

How to make 2 cups of chai

Place 1 tbsp of the spice mix in a small sauce pan with 2 tsp good quality black tea leaves. Add 1 1/2 cups of cold water, bring to the boil, set aside to steep for 3 minutes. Place back on the heat, add 1 1/2 cups milk and heat till almost boiling. Remove from the heat, add 2 tsp honey, stir till dissolved, then strain the chai through a fine sieve and serve in large mugs.

Cardamom and ginger poached pears

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I’m fussy about poaching pears. You have to be.

For a perfect poached pear there are rules to follow: I can think of seven.

Don’t go for heavily sugared poaching syrups – these must be avoided at all costs. Water enhanced with a little sugar, spice or citrus is just right and allows the natural flavour of the pears to shine through.

The pears must be firm but on their way to ripening. They should still be green but have a slight give when pressed firmly.

Prepare the syrup first so it comes to the boil BEFORE adding the fruit.

The syrup, once the fruit is added, must be kept to a simmer – one of soft bubbles just breaking the surface.

Watch over the pears as they poach – not like a hawk, more like a mother sneaking a peep on a sleeping baby.

And if the syrup gets too hot and begins to bubble too much, simply pull from the heat, till the syrup cools slightly, and return to a gentle simmer.

Once the pairs have become transparent, they are cooked. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool completely in the liquid.

I know, it’s fussy right?

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But then, the fuss pays off. And you have a bowl of glistening poached pears that can be eaten in so many ways, like with muesli or porridge, with yoghurt or ice cream, bake them in a crumble, serve them in a salad, eat them cold, or eat them warm; Serve them on a cheese platter.

Remember, never underestimate the fuss required for the prefect poached pear.

 

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Cardamon and ginger poached pears 

Ingredients

8 William pears – green but starting to soften

10 Cardamon pods, bruised

6-8cm piece of ginger, sliced into 1cm thick pieces

2/3 cup caster sugar

1 .5 litres water

1 small lemon

Heat 1 .5 litres water in a large pot, add cardamon pods, sliced ginger, sugar and lemon, stir and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile, use a peeler to peel the pears. Cut pears into quarters, then use a small knife to remove the pips. Keep some of the stalks on the pears as these look great for presentation. Try to work quickly so pears don’t oxidise and turn brown.

When all the pears are prepared place them into the boiled syrup, turn down the heat, cover pears with a sheet of baking paper to weigh them down and poach on a low simmer for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave pears to cool in syrup. Once cool, store in air tight containers for 1 week in the fridge. Eat cold or warm.

(C) Copy right Food From Michelle’s Kitchen 2016 Cardamom and ginger poached pears