The Masala Chai is a delicious Indian milk tea made with a blend of spices such as cardamom and ginger. There are many versions of this tea, but this recipe is from my Indian neighbor who became one of my best friends.
I’m a big coffee drinker, and I drink homemade Cold Brew Coffee all day long. But once in a while, especially when it’s cold outside, I crave for a nice cup of Masala Chai.
You might wonder why I’m sharing an Indian tea recipe on my site. Although I mostly share Japanese foods here, I sometimes share non-Japanese recipes when my family or I feel it’s important to be in our family’s just one cookbook.
This Masala Chai recipe was from my Indian neighbor who became my very close friend. When we moved to our house almost 10 years ago, she came by with her children to say hello. Our children had many playdates over the years while she and I sipped a cup of this Masala Chai.
What is Masala Chai?
Chai literally means tea (so don’t say Chai Tea), and the spiced-up version is Masala Chai. So what type of spices are in my Masala Chai?
My Go-To Spices for Masala Chai
Green Cardamom: It is the most important part of chai. If you have to pick only one spice, do include this in your chai and don’t skip. I just love the smell of cardamon. I purchase bags of green cardamom pods from a local Indian grocery store for my chai.
Fresh Ginger: I always keep fresh ginger for my Japanese recipes and I love the ginger’s subtle spicy kick in the chai.
Other Spice Choices: Many authentic chai recipes include a cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and nutmeg. All of the spices add a delicious warmth to the chai as well as some heat from the black pepper and ginger. Everyone probably has their preferred ratio for their spice blend, so feel free to adjust the amounts for each ingredient.
My Indian friend usually crushes/grinds the spices in a batch and keep extra in an airtight jar. I don’t drink chai every single day, so I usually prepare my green cardamom when I drink it.
- 2 tea cups water
- 4 pods green cardamom
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 slice ginger (optional)
- 3 tsp loose black tea (Red Label Orange Peko, Taj Mahal, Darjeeling etc)
- 4-6 Tbsp milk (I use whole milk)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- With a mortar and pestle, crack the cardamom pods and discard the pod. Grind the cardamom into a fine powder. If you use ginger, cut it into one thin slice.
- In a small saucepan, pour the water from the cups.
- Add cardamom, sugar, and ginger if you like, and bring it to a boil.
- When boiling, add tea leaves.
- Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add milk and bring it to boil again.
- When boiling again, reduce heat and keep simmering for another 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain tea with a strainer. Serve with a biscuit or cookie.
Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on January 7, 2011. It’s been updated with the new images.