Easy masala chai recipe to make a refreshing cup of spiced Indian Masala tea aka Kadak chai. I have shared in detail how to make fresh masala for chai, and my secret ingredient for making best, authentic masala chai.
A refreshing cup of Indian masala tea brightens the morning and sets the mood for the day. Those who know me know how much I masala chai. At least once in a day, I need my favourite cup of Masala chai which is made with herbs and my homemade chai spice mix.
Indians loves tea and a cup of Kadak chai is always there for all occasions. Any conversation, any occasion is incomplete without a cup of steaming cup of chai.
Every Home In India has its special masala tea recipe and their own recipe of chai masala to make it. From street vendors with a small Sigri (charcoal-fired stove) to high-end restaurants everyone in India has their signature masala chai.
In Delhi, you find street vendors (Chai Wala) serving chai in Kulhads (earthen pots) and pouring it from a big kettle. Mumbai special is Cutting chai which means one cup of chai divided into 2. This is also known as one by two (½).
This Masala Chai is
- Warming spicy and delicious
- Refreshing and revitalising
- Vegetarian & gluten-free
What Is Masala Chai
Masala chai is spiced black tea mixed with milk. It is one of the very popular warm drinks during monsoon and winters. Chai keeps you warm and has a lot of health benefits because of spices in it.
Millions of Indian enjoy it every day but now it is popular by many names across the world.
In America, it is known as Chai Latte or chai tea (it’s a misnomer) because chai itself means tea. The essence of chai is its special masala blend of different spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves etc.
Masala Chai Ingredients
Masala chai is made of water, tea leaves, milk, sugar plus a few whole spices or chai masala blend and fresh ginger (crushed). I like to add in fresh herbs like Tulsi(holy basil) but the best is Mint. I know many will wonder about Mint in tea but mint in tea is total game changer and that is my secret ingredient to make best chai.
Water: Use regular water or tap water.
Milk: Whole milk, low-fat milk or toned milk all work fine in tea.
Sugar: You can use regular table sugar, brown sugar or stevia. I prefer to drink any tea without sugar and it tastes great because spices add sweetness and warmth and you won’t miss sugar.
Chai Spice: I use homemade chai masala. You can make fresh chai masala by crushing whole spices like green cardamom, black peppercorns, cloves, fennel. Fresh ginger etc. If you are using this homemade tea masala skip cardamom, peppercorns, cloves and fennel.
Mint: Fresh mint/pudina traditionally is not added in chai. it is my personal preference but it tastes wonderful. I suggest you try it once to see how you like it. For me, it is one secret that makes my masala chai so special that everyone loves it.
Holy Basil: Holy basil (tulsi) is known for its medicinal properties as well as the aroma. If you have access one or two leaves add spicy taste and aroma.
How to make Masala Chai
There are two ways to make masala tea. One method is to make fresh tea masala. In this method, a few spices are crushed and added to boiling water milk and tea leaves mixture. This is made without tea masala powder.
In the second method, I make masala tea using chai masala/tea spice. In this method, I boil water, add tea leaves, tea masala, fresh herbs, ginger and milk. Tea masala is a blend of spices that is unique to most families as per their taste preference.
The sequence in which ingredients are added while making tea makes a lot of difference in the colour and taste of the tea. Authentic masala chai is made using lightly crushed spices boiled in water, milk and tea powder concoction.
Preparation Method Step by Step
- This method is for strong masala tea recipe. However as per personal preference, you can increase or decrease the number of spices tea leaves and milk,
- Heat water in a saucepan on medium-high heat.
- While water is boiling, in a mortar and pestle lightly crush tulsi (optional) and mint leaves. Keep them aside for now.
- Once the water starts to boil reduce the heat to low and add Assam tea leaves.
- Allow the tea leaves to boil for 30-45 seconds and then add milk.
- Immediately after adding milk add chai masala, crushed basil and mint leaves, you can also add grated or crushed ginger.
- You can add sugar as per your taste. I prefer my tea without sugar so I make masala chai without sugar. If you are using sugar cubes you can add them later while serving.
- Simmer this mixture for one minute (Do not over boil).
- Using a tea filter strain the tea in a cup or kettle and enjoy a hot steaming cup of masala chai.
Tips to make Perfect Masala Tea
- Too much boiling makes spices lose their flavour so I prefer not to over boil them. You can try both the ways and see which one you like the most.
- You can adjust the quantity of spices as per your taste. I suggest starting with ½tsp crushed tea masala per cup and then adjust it as per your taste when you make it next time.
- The sequence of adding ingredients makes a significant change in taste colour and aroma of chai, so take care while doing so.
- Never over-boil chai. The tannins in the tea leaves can make it bitter. Just one minute is enough.
Type of tea leaves for Masala Tea
Best tea leaves for making masala chai are Assam tea leaves. Any good Kadak masala chai recipe will suggest the use of Assam tea. Darjeeling tea is mild and spices do not complement much with the mild tea. The best substitution if you can not find Assam tea is English breakfast tea.
Water to milk Ratio
Water to milk Ratio is also important but also a personal choice. I do not like very milky tea so I keep ¾ water to ¼th milk ratio. If you like milky tea you can do ½ cup water to ½ cup milk.
Sequence of Ingredient Addition
Make sure water is simmering before you add tea leaves. Most people add chai masala before adding milk but I prefer to add tea masala powder and ginger along with milk and not before. It makes a lot of difference in taste.
Health Benefits of Masala Chai
Masala chai is made using a lot of whole spices, ginger, tulsi, mint and all of these individually have a lot of health-boosting properties. The spices in chai masala have anti-inflammatory properties and have antioxidants.
Tea leaves have caffeine in small amounts which revitalises the body for the short term. Tannins in the tea leaves have antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds.
What to Serve with Masala Tea
Snacks that you can serve with Masala Tea or Indian hi tea are:
More Tea Recipes For You
How to make masala chai
- Saucepan (Indian)
- 1.5 cups water
- .5cup milk
- 2 teaspoon Assam tea
- 10 gm ginger
- 1 teaspoon chai masala
- 2 tulsi leaves
- 4 mint leaves
First Make Chai Masala
- Take ½ inch cinnamon stick, 1 green cardamom, ¼inch ginger pc, 2 cloves and crush them together. Keep this aside. You can either make this fresh spice mix or use pre-mix homemade tea masala.
Making Masala Chai
- In a pan heat 1.5. cups of water and bring it to a boil.
- Now add 2 teaspoons Assam tea. Boil for a minute. Do not boil too much as tea might become bitter.
- Now add ½ cup of either 2% milk, full-fat milk or toned milk as per your choice.
- Along with milk add crushed spices or chai masala.
- I also add crushed tulsi(holy basil) and mint leaves which add refreshing flavour. This is my secret ingredient to make the best masala tea.
- After adding milk, boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Strain the tea through a tea strainer in the cup or kettle.
- Enjoy the hot cup of masala tea with your favourite snacks or as it is.