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.
How to Make Masala Chai
1 Tbsp fennel or anise seed
6 green cardamom pods
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
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.