Indian Masala Chai is aromatic and soul soothing milk tea with ginger and spices. Irrespective of season, day or time, a cup of aromatic chai is always comforting and refreshing. All you need to make this Great Indian Masala Chai, are cardamom, clove, cinnamon and ginger along with tea leaves or powder, milk and sweetener.
About This Recipe
Chai | Chaaa is an Indian word for Tea. In India, we prepare chai by brewing tea powder, milk, sugar, water and spices. Depending on the occasion and season, chai is either spiced with cardamom or ginger or both or sometimes few other spices are added.
Every ‘galli ka nukkad‘ (corner of the street) has its own tea stall with its own unique tea recipe. For us Indians, break time means tea time. People like to have tea mostly before or after breakfast in the morning or in the evening along with snack.
In India, a lot happen over tea. From politics to gossip to sports to match making to much more. Conversation over a cup of tea lightens the mood.
India is the second largest producer of tea in the world after China. Indian Tea is one of the best teas in the world. For us Indians, chai (tea) is an emotion, healer and a companion. Tea is mood setter and we have tea for every mood.
Fragrant and spicy chai is an age old caffeine-free drink. The use of spices and ginger makes this tea a perfect blend that promotes a healthy immune system.
Masala Chai recipe is similar to Middle Eastern Karak Chai or Chai Karak of Gulf Region. Apart from spices, saffron is the main ingredient in this karak chai recipe.
Masala Chai Recipe
Food and drinks play an important role in teaching us about India’s diversity. Every recipe has got its own variation depending on the place, climate and people’s taste. Tea (Chai), one of the most popular hot beverage and is one good example of this culinary diversity.
There are tons of variations of making this tea concoction. The simple and everyday masala chai is prepared by adding spices and ginger to water. Bringing it to boil then by adding tea powder and sweetener. Boiling it for minutes and then we add milk. Boil for few minutes and pour in tea cups.
I prefer my chai strong, ek dum kadak with full of flavour and aroma. Strong India Masala Tea is often called as kadak chai.
There are two easy and simple methods of making Masala Chai, one is by steeping the spices in water and then adding tea powder, milk and sweetener. In the other method, we add crushed ginger and powdered spices to water, boil it and add remaining ingredients. Both the ways this chai tastes almost the same. If you like sharp flavour of spices and ginger, I suggest you to go with first method. Check the recipe card below the post for the two methods of brewing best masala chai.
Masala Chai Ingredients
Tea Powder – I use Taj Mahal brand. A good tea powder is the key ingredient in making this chai. Tea powder adds flavour, aroma, color and taste. Strong chai is nice caramel in color.
Instead of tea powder, you can also use tea leaves too. Best tea leaves for masala chai are Tata Tea Gold, Red Label Natural Care and Wagh Bakri Premium Leaf.
Milk – I use low-fat cow milk. Chai tastes best with whole or full fat milk. Tea made with fresh raw milk is more tasty than packet (poly) or tetra pack milk. You can also use milk powder too. If using milk powder, prepare milk as per instructions on the packet and use.
You can make vegan masala chai, by substituting cow or buffalo milk with oats milk, nut milk or soy milk. Basing on the use of milk, the taste of chai varies.
Sugar – White refined crystal sugar is the basic sweetener in chai. But you can use jaggery or brown sugar any other sweetener of your choice.
NOTE: When I use jaggery or brown sugar along with ginger while making tea, I don’t know why but upon adding milk, the milk is cuddling. This can be because of packet milk, but I am not sure. Be careful, if you are using jaggery or brown sugar.
Whole Spices – Cardamom, cinnamon and cloves are the spices which go in making this chai. You can use powder of these spices too. Or you can coarsely crush these spices and add.
For strong and sharp flavour of spices, always add coarsely crushed spices. Sometimes, spice powder will over powder the taste of chai.
Ginger – Gives strong and sharp earthy flavour, aroma and taste. I prefer using crushed ginger. You add ginger in three ways.
- Peeling and coarsely crushing it in mortar and pestle.
- Peel and grate the ginger.
- Finely chop or make juliennes of ginger and add.
What Is Masala Chai Made Of?
Ingredients of chai vary from place to place and house to house. But typical chai masala ingredients are cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Other than these ingredients, people prefer adding one or two of these, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, nutmeg, mace, dry ginger, star anise, etc;.
How Is Masala Chai Different From Tea?
Masala chai is a milk tea with a hint of spices and ginger.
What Does Chai Masala Do?
Chai masala flavours the tea and also adds aroma and taste.
What Does Masala Chai Taste Like?
If I need to answer this in one word, I will say DIVINE. Whatever the day is, however the mood is, a warm sip of masala chai uplifts the mood, relaxes your senses, refreshes your body and rejuvenates you.
Evening Tea Time Snacks
In India, evening tea is always accompanied with savory snacks or biscuits. If nothing is at home to serve unexpected guests, then tea is served with biscuits. Masala chai and rusk is also one of the most liked combination. Some people prefer having chai and rusk or biscuit in breakfast. Here are few of my favorite snack recipes, which go perfectly with tea
- 1½ Cups Milk
- 1½ Cups Water
- 2 tbsp. Tea Powder, I used Taj Mahal
- 3 Green Cardamoms | Elaichi
- 2 Cloves
- 1' inch piece Cinnamon
- 2' inch piece Ginger, peeled
- 3 tbsp. Sugar | Sweetener
How To Make Masala Chai At Home
As mentioned in the post, I am sharing with you the two different methods by which you can easily brew masala chai at home.
In a pan take water and bring it to boil by adding crushed cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon and crushed ginger.
Boil till water reduce to ¾ of what we added. Now to this add tea powder, sugar (or any sweetener).
Bring this to boil. Reduce flame and boil till water is reduced to half. Now slowly add milk.
Let this slow boil until slightly thick. Using a whisker or spoon, slightly whish the chai. This will help in thickening the chai and also creates a nice froth on tea.
Remove from the stove and strain the tea into the tea cups. Serve hot.
Chai is always served piping hot.
In a mortar, add ginger. Crush it coarsely and to this add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Crush all the ingredients until coarse using pestle.
Now add this to water and bring it to boil. When the water is reduced to ¾ of its consistency, add tea powder or tea leaves and sugar or sweetener.
Boil till the water is reduced to half. Now add milk. Boil for 3-4 minutes and whisk 3-4 times.
Strain in tea cups and serve piping hot.
Add love to make this masala chai taste 'Yummy'.
My aunt strains the tea in a big tumbler and then pours it back into other tumbler by lifting it to a height. This method is called pulling tea. Pouring back and froth of tea creates froth and thickens the tea.
Pulled Tea (Teh Tarik) is famous South East Asian tea which is commonly found in outdoor restaurants and tea stalls.
Tea is poured twice or thrice, back and froth in two large tumblers, before serving. Pulling tea got its name because of its process of pouring back and froth.
In India, evening tea is always accompanied with snacks. I have mentioned few popular tea snack recipes in post above. Check them out.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 90Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g