I fell in love with masala chai when I visited India in 2006. In earlier visits, I hadn’t been tempted but watching the chai wallahs prepare the chai in their own spectacular way, sparked my curiosity, and after my first cup, I was hooked.
Masala means a blend of spices, and chai means tea – spiced tea. Masala chai is black tea infused with spices typically sweetened and served with milk…and it’s absolutely delicious!
Now, I know you can buy pre-made chai syrups and powders, or go for a chai latte at your local café, but nothing beats making a fresh pot of chai from scratch, using the spices you enjoy the most and in the quantities you prefer. It hardly takes any time and the aroma left in the house is as good as the taste.
There are many recipes to choose from, this is how I make it.
Masala Chai Recipe
6 – 8 cardamom pods
3 – 4 whole cloves
6 – 8 black peppercorns
½ – 1 cinnamon stick split lengthways
4 – 5 thin rounds of ginger
1 – 2 star anise
1 – 2 dessertspoons of black tea (or 1 – 2 teabags)
1 cup water
1 cup of whole organic milk or plant-based milk (oat milk is very nice)
Lightly crush the cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns & star anise and place in a pot with 1 cup water, ginger, cinnamon and tea.
Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat and let steep for at least 10 minutes, longer is good! Don’t continue to boil the mixture as that can make the tea taste bitter.
When you are ready to drink, add your choice of milk and bring to a light simmer then remove from the heat.
Stir in your choice of sweetener and strain into a glass or mug.
All quantities above can be adjusted to suit your taste. It’s also fine to adjust the milk/water ratio to make it less milky.
Chai is generally made with a rich, robust black tea. I like Darjeeling but any rich tea that you enjoy will work.
Whole spices give a much nicer flavour but if you are out of any, you can replace them with their powdered versions.
Do you make your own masala chai? What spices do you use? Drop your receipe in the comments below.