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How to make authentic Indian masala chai

Hindi lesson:

Masala = spice

Chai = tea

*i.e. avoid saying “chai tea”  😀

 

Masala chai, or masala tea, is a recipe that I’ve been working to perfect for YEARS.

 

I’ve always been such a fan of masala chai! It’s a versatile drink perfect for a chilly winter day but also equally delicious over ice in the warmer months. I love it either way and it’s something I’ve always wanted to learn how to make myself.

 

Whenever I’m in India, I literally feel like I’m in heaven because it’s such a big part of the culture. It’s often enjoyed several times throughout the day, paired with a spicy samosa. Ahhh, one of my favorite “meals” ever!

 

I must also confess that the masala chai in India has such a different flavor than whatever you get in the US or Europe. An authentic Indian chai, in my opinion, is characterized by the richness of spices that are used. And the chai wallahs- the street vendors who make masala chai, all have their own unique blend. That is the beauty behind it!

 

If you ever plan to go to India you can check out Chaayos– the chai specialists!

 

 

After hundreds of attempts, I’ve finally got my own masala chai recipe down pat and have cultivated a few secrets (even my very picky Indian boyfriend approves). I’ve also done a lot of YouTube research to test different flavor combos, and what I’ve outlined below is what’s worked best for me.

 

My secrets lie in the cooking process as well as using an indispensable ingredient.

 

Chai secret #1) The cooking process behind this chai is in line with practically any Indian dish ever- it’s all about letting the ingredients slowly cook together over long periods of time on a low flame.

 

Chai secret #2) Don’t skip out on the ginger! This is an ingredients that gives the chai a special kick and blends really well with the other flavors. This may not be news to you, but I just want to emphasize that making this recipe without this ingredient does not give it any justice.

 

I recommend that you also experiment with this recipe and not to follow it religiously. Everyone has different ingredients available and different stove top settings so it’s unlikely that you’ll get the exact same outcome.

 

Use these steps to make the most authentic and delicious Indian masala chai you’ve ever had. 😉

 

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
4-5 whole cardamom pods
1/2 inch ginger
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons loose black tea (we use Brooke Bond Taj Mahal)
*Try to buy fresh ingredients, if possible 
Indian spices

Prepare:

  1. Put the milk, water, cardamom pods, ginger, and sugar in a medium pot and stir the mixture
  2. Cook the milk mixture on a medium- to low-flame until the milk has caramelized (you should be able to smell the ginger infused in the milk)
  3. Continuously stir the ingredients together for about 10-15 minutes allowing the milk to rise 1-2 times
  4. Add the loose black tea and continue to stir for a few minutes
  5. Once the chai mixture is golden brown remove from heat
  6. Place a handheld strainer over the glass and pour the chai

 

Notes:

If you’ve never made masala chai before and experience difficulties finding any of the ingredients, it’s recommended to check your local Indian shop.

Have you chai’d this recipe and want to give it a thumbs up or have a question/suggestion? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Looking for more authentic Indian recipe inspiration? Check out our Mango Lassi or Tikka Masala Curry recipes.

An American living and working in Dusseldorf, Germany. If you couldn't tell already, I spend most of my free time cooking, travelling or writing about either of the two. If there's one place in the world I love the most it's Incredible India <3

Comments:

  • Aisha

    April 8, 2020

    Hi Marissa,
    As an avid Masala Chai lover, I could tell you a bit of alteration to the recipe which could help you enjoy a better masala tea. If you add the loose black tea to the water and bring it to a boil and then later add milk it will help you give a stronger tea. Also I would be very careful to boil ginger and milk because it could split the milk… Ginger can be added at the very end.

    reply...
  • Karishma

    April 15, 2020

    Another additional spice that really changes the flavour is cinnamon. I really love it ! Do try 🙂

    reply...
    • Karishma

      April 15, 2020

      Ooh and fresh mint leaves !!

      reply...

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