Rainy and cold weathers call for Masala Chai! There’s nothing better than a cup of spiced tea to warm yourself up, while admiring the rain and listening to the sounds of the wind. Every time I have Masala Chai, I instantly feel like I am sinking into a fluffy cloud; it is really a comforting drink.
Despite the majority of Mauritians being from Indian descendants, it is surprisingly quite rare to find Masala Chai on the menus of coffee shops around island. I believe it must be more of an at home recipe, where each household would have its own recipe. Brewed over low fire by mothers and grand-mothers in an old tea pot!
Well, after having travelled and having had fresh Masala Chai at a cafe, made with fresh spices and ginger. It was love at first “sip” for me! And by fresh, I mean, the none masala chai powder that you find in supermarkets, which I have been having until I made my own spiced tea!
Fun Fact! Did you guys know that “Chai” means tea in Hindi. And that “Naan” means bread. Thus saying “Chai tea” is like saying “tea tea” and saying “Naan bread” is like saying “bread bread” , which is technically wrong. Masala Chai translates to Masala Tea or spiced tea! Now would you ever say Chai Tea every again?
As mentioned, every Indian household have their own secret blend of spices for their chai. I nonetheless like to use a mixture of cardamon, cloves, star anise, cinnamon and fresh ginger! I also like mine sweetened with honey and made with soy milk! So, let’s dive right into the recipe!
Tips & Tricks
- You want to use a dark, rich and robust black tea. Assam, Darjeeling , etc. I prefer using loose tea leaves as I feel they are more flavorful, but feel free to use tea bags. Start off with 1 tablespoon of tea leaves and add in more, if it’s not strong enough for your tastebuds.
- Black peppercorn – I added in black peppercorns once when making this recipe and it added an extra peppery, tingly effect in the back of my throat which I didn’t really enjoy. However, if you like that extra spicy effect, please do add them in!
- Ginger – Grated vs Sliced. If you want a stronger ginger flavor, grate it instead of slicing it.
- Milk options – As a rule of thumb, the fattier your milk (higher fat content), the creamier your tea. So depending on the milk you are using, add in around 1 to 1½ cups of milk. If you are more of a milk-base tea person, add in more milk, vice-versa. I usually use soy milk and add in 1 cup.
- Sweetening options – You can use sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, condensed milk… the choice is yours.
Pair this Masala Chai with Something Sweet!
Masala Chai – Spiced TeaCourse: From The Kitchen, Thirsty, Tea TimeCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
710ml (3 cups) water
8 cardamon pods
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks (approx 5cm)
Knob of ginger (approx 3-4cm), sliced*
10 black peppercorns, optional*
1-2 tbsp black tea
237-355 ml (1-1½ cups) milk*
Honey or sugar, to taste
- Use a mortar and pestle to coarsely crush your spices (cloves, star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods and black pepper)
- In a sauce pan on medium heat, slightly roast your spices and ginger until fragrant
- Then pour in the water and allow it to come to a boil. Let it simmer for 3-5mins
- Add in your tea (start off with 1 tbsp, and if not strong enough, add more to taste)
- Add in the milk (1-1½ cups, depending on your milk, see notes) and sugar, if using any, and allow the mixture to again come to a boil
- Reduce heat to low and let mixture simmer for 4-5mins
- Strain the tea into a teapot or directly into your mugs.
- If using honey, maple syrup or condensed milk, sweeten your tea to taste and enjoy!
- If you want a stronger ginger taste, grate your ginger instead of cutting them into slices
- Add in black peppercorns if you enjoy that tingly and warm effect in your throat. It will instantly warm your insides
- Milk options: The higher the fat content in your milk, the creamier your tea will be and probably the less milk you’ll have to add in. I usually use soy milk and add in 1 cup to the mixture.