Tuesday, July 12, 2011

masala chai

I know I know, it's been more than a week and I have yet to post a recipe with cardamom in it. So much for being a cardamom junkie (thank you for reminding me Nam) So here is this recipe, if you can even call it that. Chai is something every Indian knows how to make. I think the recipe is embedded in our DNA from birth. It was certainly the very first thing I knew how to make.

Chai in India is a generic term for tea. Loose tea leaves boiled and then enjoyed with sugar and milk. So for me 'chai tea latte' makes no sense...chai, which means tea to begin with, already has latte in it, hello!!! Anyway, coming back to Indian chai...there are many ways to enhance the already divine flavors, like by adding certain spices. And by certain, I mean Cardamom. I love love the flavor of cardamom in my tea and to that add a few cloves, cinnamon and slices of fresh ginger for refreshingly yummy beverage.

We enjoy chai only on the weekends along with some delicious Indian cookies. It's our weekend treat. Sipping on a cup of chai watching the world go by is (was before the baby arrived) our favorite way of spending a Saturday morning. Ahh! the small things in life that bring joy.

Masala Chai
This is a combination of spices I love in my tea. But you can vary the quantity or omit any spice you want, or rather don't want. Lots of people use dry ginger powder rather than fresh ginger. But it is too strong a flavor for me. But if you like the gingery taste, you can use ground ginger instead. I also do not include any black pepper, ground or whole. It ruins the taste of chai for me. But again, if you like it go ahead.
Makes 2 cups.

2 teaspoons loose leaf black tea
2 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups of water
1/2 cup milk (I use whole milk for chai)
2 teaspoons sugar (you can vary per your liking)

Using mortar and pestle whack the spices a few times. You don't have to mash them into a powder form. In a saucepan add water, tea and spices and bring to boil. Remove the pan from heat, put on a lid and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes

In a different pan bring the milk to boil (you can also microwave it for a few minutes) and add to the steeping tea. Add sugar and stir. Allow to steep for another 2-3 minutes. Strain the tea into cups or a teapot and enjoy.


  1. I am so happy you posted this! My great grandfather was Indian but being "full" any race ended there (all the women are not Indian)so I never learned the recipe. I used to love going to all the weddings, mainly for the tea and sweets(and I always got a new outfit). I love your blog!

  2. that looks delicious. I have never heard of those cookies, but they look like they pair perfectly with that lovely chai. thanks for the post!

  3. thanks so much guys:)
    Daniyal: that is so cool.If you have any wonderful recipes from your great grandfather, do share.
    Amy: those cookies are called Parle G now. When I was little we called them gluco biscuit. You get these are any indian grocery store :) They are perfect with chai!


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