Never underestimate the power of Masala Cheese Scones and a mug of hot tea. This casual comfort combo is my go-to for when I need a dose of nostalgia.
One bite of spicy cheese scone followed by a swift sip of sweet chai and I’m transported back to my childhood kitchen.
From picnic blanket to kitchen table
I grew up in a town in West Yorkshire. It was a picturesque place full of friendly people. My family made life-long friends there. We lived above our newsagents for many years before moving to a more spacious home.
His rendition of Hanuman Aarti will forever be etched in my mind as the soundtrack that fortifies mum’s Saturday morning Urad (black lentils). This experience bore and fostered my curiosity for cooking, from the age of just six or seven.
When we moved some years later, I remember my mum’s joy at having a modern kitchen where she could cook her heart out. She loved that her new kitchen was an ‘L’ shape with enough room for a table.
Sunday lunchtime Masala Poori, Bateta nu Shaak and Shrikhand may have tasted the same but now they were now enjoyed at the table, not on our laps. We ate every meal there as a family for the next eight years.
I learnt to cook a great deal in both kitchens but my sweetest memories came from that tiny kitchen above the corner shop.
I’ll keep the chai warm
Sunday afternoons would be spent browsing through well-thumbed cookbooks together, chatting about what we can cook up next. Mum’s collection of recipe books blew my curious mind. Never one to miss a trick, she would translate the ones written in Gujarati to English for me.
It was this encouragement, peppered with her sage advice that nurtured my passion. Everything grew from these moments we shared, from the picnic blanket on the floor, to the kitchen table.
With multiple lockdowns this past 12 months, having tea, scones and chats with her have been the thing I’ve missed the most. I’ll keep the Chai warm until we can do that again.
What’s in Masala Cheese Scones?
Aside from the basic flour, butter, milk and leavening agents, I add a blend of two cheeses, chilli, coriander, onions and garam masala.
I use my Homemade Garam Masala in these scones. The flavour you get from home-roasted and ground spices is wonderful. Indeed, if you don’t have time, you can use shop-bought garam masala.
How long does it take to make Masala Cheese Scones?
These vegetarian Masala Cheese Scones can be ready in under 40 minutes, including prep time.
How to serve these Scones
Serve them with chai, your favourite mango chutney or even alongside a bowl of tomato soup. They’re light, flaky and full of spiciness. Feel free to reduce or increase the amount of chillies as per your taste.
These Masala Cheese Scones are…
- Quick & easy
- Egg free
- Easy to veganise
How to make Vegan Cheese Scones
You’ll need to make a few swaps to the recipe below. Instead of butter, use any soft, plant-based spread (vegan block) of your choice. Don’t use oil.
Swap the milk in both the dough and for the milk wash for any unsweetened dairy-free milk.
Instead of the dairy cheese, use your favourite brand of vegan cheese. I love vegan Applewood Smoked Cheese.
Other recipes you might like
3 ways to make “egg wash” without eggs
Option 1: Turmeric “Eggwash”
If you’ve been following me for a long time, you’ll remember these Mini Mushroom & Feta Pies. This was one of the first times I made an eggwash without eggs and the results were perfect.
I usually mix together warm milk and a very small amount of ground turmeric. And there you have it. A perfect “eggwash”, minus the eggs.
Option 2: Coconut “Eggwash”
Mix together warm coconut milk, a tiny pinch of turmeric and a drizzle of agave for a shiny finish. This is how I give my Vegan Curry Puffs a glorious egg-yellow colour.
Don’t worry, the agave in such a small amount won’t make your finished bake taste sweet.
Option 3: Mustard “Eggwash”
This is my no-egg “eggwash” of choice in this recipe for Masala Cheese Scones. Not only does it give the flaky scones another dimension of warmth, it turns the tops so beautifully golden.
If you choose to add any seeds to the top, this will also help them stick.
Simply mix together English mustard powder and warm milk. Brush this all over the top of the scones before you bake them.
How to make light scones: Freeze and grate your butter!
For the lightest and flakiest scones, pop your butter in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. Grate on the coarse side of a cheese grater to ensure it combines with the flour quickly and easily.
Like making shortcrust pastry, light and flaky scones require as little handling as possible. Every ingredient should be cold before you begin.
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More topping ideas for your Masala Cheese Scones
- Nigella seeds (kalonji)
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Cumin seeds
- More cheese (never a bad idea)
Masala Cheese Scones recipe & video
- 7cm (2.7-inch) round cookie or scone cutter
- 250 g plain flour
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 50 g mature Cheddar grated
- 50 g Red Leicester grated
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 50 g red onion finely chopped
- 75 g unsalted butter frozen or very cold
- 175 ml full-fat milk cold
For the mustard "eggwash":
- 2 tsp English mustard powder
- 1 1/2 tsp full-fat milk
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Start by grating your butter on the coarse side of a cheese grater. This will help incorporate the butter quickly and easily.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, garam masala and salt. Add the grated butter and using your fingertips, swiftly rub the flour and butter together to form a fine, breadcrumb-like texture.
- Add the onion, chilli, coriander and cheese. Mix together.
- Next, pour in the milk. Use a spoon or your hands to bring the mixture together as a soft dough. Be very gentle and do not knead it. Light and flaky scones require as little handling as possible.
- Flour a clean surface and pat or roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1 1/2-2cm. Stamp out rounds using a cookie cutter. Pick up any scraps of dough and bring them back together to cut out more rounds. Remember to handle the dough quickly and with a light touch. Cracks on the surface are fine. Scones should be rustic looking.
- Place the scones on a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Arrange the scones on the tray, leaving a small gap around each one as they will rise a bit. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
To make the mustard "eggwash":
- In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and milk. Stir until no lumps remain.
To bake the scones:
- Brush the scones with the mustard wash and sprinkle on your kalonji (nigella) seeds and sesame seeds. Alternatively, you can keep them plain or choose an alternative. I've included some different topping ideas in the blog post above.
- Bake the scones in the pre-heated oven for 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before eating.
- Serve these scones with Masala Chai and if you like, mango chutney. I sometimes like to add a blob of whipped cream cheese and mango chutney together, cream tea style.
- Cut the scones into any shape you like. Note that larger scones may take longer to bake.
- Store the scones in an airtight container, somewhere cool. Enjoy within 2 days. Refrigeration may make the scones stale.
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If you like this, you’ll love my recipe for Indian Cheese Twists