How To Make Masala Chai

Masala Chai, Hindi for “spiced tea,” is the most prominent beverage and key cultural element in India. It is made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. Masala Chai originated in India in what legends say is over 5000 years ago (some say 9000), but is served around the world today in countless variations. In rain or shine, you can purchase chai on the streets of India from chai “wallahs,” or vendors. It is also  common to be invited over for chai at someone’s house as a form of welcoming. Back home in Canada, I’ve had various forms of pre-made masala chai, but it wasn’t until coming to India that I discovered I had truly experienced the real masala chai.

The following is a recipe that was given to me by a very kind lady who I had met during my travels through India.

The Best Recipe for Masala Chai

Top row from left to right: black peppercorns, red ginger, cinnamon sticks, loose tea. Bottom row: cardamom, cloves, fennel, honey *I didn’t have bay leaves, but it tastes better to use them*

How to Make Masala Chai

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp fennel or anise seed

6 green cardamom pods

12 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4″ red ginger root, sliced thin

1/4 tsp black pepper corns

2 bay leaves

7 Cups water

2 Tbsp powdered tea

6 Tbsp honey or brown sugar

1 Cup milk

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Add fennel/anice, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks, thinly chopped red ginger, black peppercorns, and bay leaves to 7 cups of water in a pot. Bring ingredients to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add loose tea and milk to the pot and simmer for another 2 minutes while stirring occasionally. Strain tea using a thin mesh strainer. Poor into a mug and serve!

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy your real traditional cup of Masala Chai.

Indian Chai

Let us know what you think of this recipe by leaving your feedback below!

Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.

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6 Comments

  1. October 30, 2013 / 6:30 am

    Mmm, I love Masala Chai tea but haven’t been able to find anything even remotely similar since I left India. Will definitely be giving this a go!
    Monica recently posted..October on The Travel HackMy Profile

  2. November 22, 2012 / 8:28 am

    Masala Chai is a beverage from India made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. I love this Chai as its taste pretty good. Actually I don’t know how to make a chai. But now after reading your post I’ll definitely try it. Good job!

  3. Sojourner
    October 21, 2010 / 9:05 am

    I tried for years to make masala chai using the best Assam and Darjeeling teas, and every attempt was a miserable failure. It takes a STRONG tea to stand up to the spices and milk in masala chai.

    You want the mamri-style (CTC, cut-tear-curl, basically this is how they process the tea leaves). In India this is common knowledge, but here in the USA, people equate loose tea to the “good stuff”, expensive teas that, while they brew an excellent cup of tea, do not have the body or strength of character to make it as the base for masala chai. “Mamri” style tea is what goes into tea bags. If you can’t find mamri style tea (commonly available at any Indian grocery, some common brands are Brooke Bond Red Label, Taj Mahal, and Tea India), you can use cheap unflavored tea bags instead.

    My version of masala chai is pretty simple. I make my masala chai in 4 easy steps, using whole spices – fennel seed, cloves, and cardamom.

    1) boil water and spices for 3 mins
    2) add milk and return to a rolling boil
    3) add tea and simmer on low for no more than 3 mins
    4) strain, serve, add sugar to taste

    The full recipe is on my blog.

    http://barbariansatthekitchengate.blogspot.com/2009/05/masala-chai-indian-railroad-tea.html

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