Call me a late bloomer, but it wasn’t until I experienced Chai first hand that I fell in love with it. Now, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t either make myself a cup, or pine for it.
Yes, I’ve had it numerous times , but somehow, either it was overly sweetened, too bland, or perhaps I had just never truly “connected” with it. It was almost like, I met Chai for the first time, at age 28. I can’t believe I lived so many years without it! Masala Chai filled a void, I never knew I had, until those very first sips.
In Urdu, chai means “tea”. The word masala means spice. So saying chai tea, is really like saying “tea tea”.
So that’s why in Pakistan, one says Masala Chai – or spiced tea. Good to know, right? 😉
What makes Masala Chai Authentic, is the use of spices. One thing is for certain, every single person in Pakistan probably has their own unique combination of spices they prefer in their masala chai and there is no one “right” way. It is subjective.
Chai Wallahs- the street vendors who make masala chai, all have their own unique blend as well and as you can probably guess, I was obsessed with watching them make their creations. These are the chai spices I saw used the most.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 1 large mug 1x
- Category: drinks, tea, hot beverage
- Method: stove-top
- 5–7 green cardamom pods
- 3–4 whole cloves
- 1–2 star anise ( optional )
- 5–7 peppercorns ( optional)
- 1 cup of water
- 2–3 slices ginger ( skins ok)
- ½ cinnamon stick- split lengthwise ( use your fingers to separate)
- 2 tablespoons black tea, loose leaf ( or 1–2 tea bags) Or sub decaf black tea
- 1 cup milk of your choice- almond, oat, soy, cashew, hemp, macadamia, or organic whole milk ( I like unsweetened, vanilla-flavored almond or oat milk)
- 2–3 teaspoons ( or more or less) maple syrup, honey, sugar or alternative. (Sugar is traditional, but I prefer maple. )
- Lightly crush cardamom, cloves, star anise and peppercorns, and place in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Add ginger, cinnamon and black tea. I like to muddle the ginger a bit.
- Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let seep 10 minutes…. or for several hours. The longer, the more flavor.
- Add milk. Bring to a simmer once more, turn off the heat.
- Sweeten, taste, strain into a glass.
- Feel the love. xoxo
I typically use a ratio of ½ water and ½ milk. Feel free to make this richer and thicker by using more milk and less water, or even all milk, simmering spices directly in the milk. You can also make the tea as strong as you like.
This can also be made with ground spices, which I will update here shortly.
You can make a big batch of the masala chai ( without the milk) and refrigerate, and heat up with the milk when ready to serve.
You can add more whole spices and more black tea for an even stronger more concentrated version.