Masala chai is basically a spiced tea. It’s made in India and Pakistan and is oh-so good! The addition of the spices is what makes this tea different from a regular cup of chai. There are a lot of ways to make it. I would experiment with the ingredients and how much of each ingredient you use. The recipe I’m sharing below is one of the ways I make masala chai. Sometimes I’ll take something out or add something in. It depends on what I have on hand or my mood or whatever. There’s no right or wrong way to make it. At least that’s what I think. If you don’t like a certain spice or you love another spice, I would add more or less of it.
Although there are a lot of different spices you could use to make this spiced chai, the most common ones are cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. These three spices are staples in Desi (Indian and Pakistani) cooking; in both sweet and savory dishes. To these three spices, I added star anise and ground ginger (you can use thinly sliced fresh ginger if you prefer). The spices are aromatic and strong, so I would definitely use them sparingly (also another reason why you should play around with these spices to find one that suits your taste buds). A good rule of thumb is that a little goes a long way, especially with regard to the cloves and star anise. In addition to the aromatics and warmth these spices provide, there are many medicinal benefits to each. You can Google all that information if you want. For me, these spices meld together to make a perfectly spiced cup of tea.
You can use regular milk, but I’ve always used evaporated milk in my teas. It’s the way my mom always made tea and it’s how I usually make my tea too. Using the evaporated milk is a matter of preference and what I’m used to. The evaporated milk adds a creamy richness to the chai.
There’s something about masala chai that makes it soothing and comforting for me. I enjoy sipping my tea on its own or with a couple of biscuits (my favorite are Lemon Creams from South Africa). Fragrant, warm, and spicy. You just can’t beat that combination!
Here’s the recipe:
Masala Chai (by Naseem)
Yield: 2 servings (depending on the size of your teacup or mug and if you’re willing to share)
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
1/2 star anise
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp loose tea leaves (I used Lipton Yellow Label Tea, though I usually use Tanzania African Pride Tea which you can’t get in the states, lol. Its the loose tea I grew up on. You can also use black tea like Darjeeling. Sometimes I use cardamom tea bags)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
sugar, to taste
biscuits, optional (My favorite one is Lemon Creams, which you can’t get in the states either, lol. They’re from South Africa)
1. Place all the spices in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil.
2. Lower heat and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add tea leaves and increase heat. Bring to a rapid boil.
4. Add evaporated milk and bring to a boil.
5. Remove from heat. Using a sieve, fill the tea into teacups.
6. Serve hot or pour over ice.