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A Creamy Masala Chai Crème Brûlée + Giveaway

by Kristina Gill

Since its opening in the Spitalfields area of London, home-style Indian restaurant Gunpowder has been at the top of my list of places to eat when I visit the city. If you’ve eaten there, you know why I recommend it to friends, and if you’ve been in London with me at the same time, I’ve probably taken you there to share in my joy. From day one, all I could think with each dish I tasted was, “I want this recipe!” One of the owners, Harneet, would walk me through the stories of the dishes I asked about and how they were made, but I wanted every recipe from the menu! This year my wishes were answered with the cookbook Gunpowder: Explosive Flavors from Modern India. I’m super excited to share their recipe for Masala Chai Crème Brûlée this week, and hope you like it, too! —Kristina

Why Harneet loves this recipe:  Chai is such an integral part of your day in India, and I enjoy a cup at the end of a meal so we decided to put it in dessert form. We’ve also done a version using white chocolate in place of some sugar just to make it a little more decadent.

Image above: Signature dishes from Gunpowder’s menu. All photography by Peter Cassidy

For a chance to win a copy of Gunpowder: Explosive Flavors from Modern India, respond to the following question in the comments section below by August 15th, 5PM. What is your favorite restaurant cookbook/which restaurant do you wish would publish a cookbook? The winner will be announced in the comments section, so be sure to check in again!

About Devina, Harneet, and Nirmal: Harneet Baweja and his wife Devina Seth opened the restaurant Gunpowder with head chef Nirmal Save. The restaurant has received widespread recognition including raves in the Michelin guide, Bloomberg, Harper’s Bazaar, and Time Out. Find Gunpowder on Instagram @gunpowder_london.

Image above: US Version of Gunpowder Cookbook cover

Image above: Devina Seth

Image above: Harneet Baweja

Image above: Chef Nirmal Save

Image above: Masala Chai Crème Brûlée

Masala Chai Crème Brûlée

I’m a big custard fan. Anything with custard wins me over. This is just wonderful — chai goes so well in desserts. You could also add white chocolate to the mix in place of some of the sugar.

Makes 4–6


  • 3 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 Indian masala chai teabags
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup superfine sugar, plus 5 tablespoons for the tops
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cookies or shortbread, to serve (optional)



Preheat the oven to 300°F.


Place the cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.


Pour the cream and milk into a large pot. Add the tea bags, ground whole spices, and ginger and stir to mix well. Place the pot over medium heat and bring almost to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let sit to infuse further for 10 minutes, then strain the mixture through a strainer or muslin cloth.


In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until light and creamy. Slowly pour the strained cream into the egg mixture, whisking continuously, then divide the mixture between 4–6 small ramekins.


Place the ramekins in a roasting dish and pour enough boiling water into the tray to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes until just set, but with a slight wobble.


Let sit to cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for a final set.


To finish, sprinkle enough sugar on the top of each crème brûlée to fully cover the surface of the set cream. Caramelize with either a kitchen blowtorch or under a very hot oven broiler. Serve straight away or return to the refrigerator until ready to eat. Serve with your choice of cookies or shortbread, if you like.

Gunpowder: Explosive Flavors from Modern India by Harneet Baweja, Davina Seth, and Nirmal Save © 2018 Kyle Books, photographs © Peter Cassidy.

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    • Hi Lauren

      We actually read and approve all of the comments so apologies for your frustration leaving one! They just don’t get published right away (until we read them and approve!)


      • Thanks, Caitlin! It’s just a bit weird because when you hit submit, instead of confirming that a comment was submitted, it says ‘reloading page’ and refreshes. Sorry for the multiple submissions; I was clearly too excited by the possibility of receiving this awesome-looking cookbook!

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