Indian masala chai, or Indian masala tea, is one of the most popular beverages in India and some other neighboring countries. “Masala” is an umbrella term for a variety of mix of different spices used widely in Indian cooking.

When winter approaches, most Indians love to curl up in a warm blanket with a steaming cup of masala tea and some home-made snacks.

Monsoons, too, are a favorite time for Indians when they finally receive some respite from the hot Indian summers. They relish the coolness of the rain the best way they know how: by making themselves some masala tea!

Masala tea is sweet and spicy, owing to the myriad spices used to make it. People in different parts of India employ different methods to prepare the masala for this tea.

In fact, the Indian masala tea is a traditional recipe in India that has been passed down from one generation to the next, with slight variations from region to region. If you wish to skip the detailed instructions and get right to it, this video can help you out.

Here are two ways that detail how to make Indian masala chai at home in less than 5 minutes:

Method 1: Using Powdered Spices

Things you’ll need:

things-need

  • Cloves – 6 to 8 buds
  • Black pepper – 6 to 8 whole peppercorn
  • Green cardamom – 6 to 8 pods
  • Cinnamon sticks – 2 to 3 small sticks
  • Dry ginger powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Nutmeg powder – ¼ teaspoon
  • Full-fat milk – 1 cup
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Fresh ginger – a 1-inch slice
  • Tea leaves – 1 tablespoon
  • Sugar cubes – as per your preference
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Airtight container for storage
  • Saucepan
  • Strainer/Sieve

Step 1. Put all spices in a mortar

Put all spices in the mortar

  • Put 6 to 8 pieces of cloves in the mortar.
  • Add 6 to 8 whole black peppercorns to it.
  • Add 6 to 8 pods of green cardamoms.
  • Add 2 to 3 small cinnamon sticks to it.

Grinding the spices using a mortar and pestle, rather than a modern grinder, will result in a powder that is extra flavorsome and savory. The sweet taste of cardamom and cinnamon will blend beautifully with the peppery flavor of black pepper and cloves.

Step 2. Add powdered spices

add powdered spices

  • Next, add ¼-teaspoon nutmeg powder to the mortar.

To prepare powdered nutmeg, grate the nutmeg with a standard cheese grater or a specialized nutmeg grinder.

  • Add ½-teaspoon dry ginger powder to it.

To prepare powdered ginger, take small pieces of dry ginger, put them in a dry mixer or blender and grind them.

Step 3. Grind the spices

grind the spices

With the pestle, grind the spices into a coarse powder. There is no need to grind them into a fine powder.

Once ground, simply transfer the mixture to a dry bowl or container.

Your powdered masala for the Indian masala tea is ready. You can increase the quantity of spices to prepare a jar full of tea masala for future use.

Step 4. Add water and milk to a saucepan

Add water and milk

  • Pour 1 cup of water into a saucepan.
  • Add 1 cup of full-fat milk to it and put it on low heat.

Use full-fat milk for this recipe. Do not use low-fat or skim milk as doing so will compromise the taste and quality of your tea.

Step 5. Add fresh ginger

Add fresh ginger

Remove the skin off a 1-inch slice of fresh ginger, and slice it into thick pieces. Add the ginger pieces to the saucepan and allow the water to simmer for 1 minute.

Step 6. Add some tea leaves

add some tea leaves

Next, add 1-tablespoon tea leaves to the saucepan.

Make sure you use only the highest quality tea leaves available for the best taste. Assam tea and Darjeeling tea are some of the best quality tea leaves on the market.

Step 7. Add the prepared tea masala

add tea masala

After adding the tea leaves, add ½-teaspoon of the prepared tea masala powder to the saucepan. You can store the remaining powder in a dry, airtight container for later use.

Step 8. Simmer the tea

simmer the tea

Allow the tea to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. You will notice the tea change its color from a light brown to a rich, dark brown while it simmers.

Your tea should start to give off a pleasant aroma at this point.

Step 9. Strain the tea

strain the tea

Carefully and slowly, strain the hot tea into a cup with a strainer.

Step 10. Sweeten with some sugar cubes

sweeten with some sugar cubes

Depending on how sweet you like your tea, add one or more sugar cubes to your cup. Enjoy your Indian masala tea while it is still warm. Alternatively, you may add honey to your tea instead of sugar.

final

Method 2: Using Whole Spices

Things you’ll need:

things-need

  • Water – 1 cup
  • Cardamom – 2 pods
  • Black pepper – 2 or 3 peppercorns
  • Cloves–2 or 3 cloves
  • Nutmeg powder – a little bit
  • Fresh ginger – a 1-inch slice
  • Cinnamon powder – a pinch
  • Tea leaves – 1 tablespoon
  • Full-fat milk – 1 cup
  • Sugar cubes – as per your preference
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring cup and spoon
  • Strainer/Sieve

Step 1. Add water to a saucepan

add water to saucepan

Pour 1 cup of water into a saucepan and put it on low heat.

Step 2. Add whole spices

add whole spices

Once the water begins to simmer, add the whole spices to the water.

  • Remove the seeds from 2 cardamom pods and put it in the water.
  • Next, add 2 to 3 cloves to it.
  • Add 2 to 3 black peppercorns to the water.

Step 3. Add powdered spices

add powdered spices

Add a pinch of cinnamon powder. Then, add a little bit of nutmeg powder.

Step 4. Add ginger

Add ginger

Remove the skin from a 1-inch ginger slice and chop it coarsely. Add the ginger pieces to the simmering water.

Ginger adds subtle heat, as well as fragrance, to the tea.

Step 5. Add tea leaves

add tea leaves

Soon, you will notice the spices start giving off their fragrance. When this happens, add 1-tablespoon tea leaves to the water. Allow the tea to come to a full boil before reducing the heat to low.

Make sure you use only the highest quality tea leaves available for the best taste.

Step 6. Add milk

add milk

Once the tea takes on a rich brown color, add 1-cup full-fat milk. Do not use low-fat or skim milk as doing so will compromise the taste and quality of your tea.

Step 7. Allow the tea to simmer

allow tea to simmer

Let your tea simmer for a few minutes.

A good simmer is necessary to enhance the taste of your tea, otherwise it could end up watery, bland and devoid of its characteristic spicy aroma.

Step 8. Strain the tea

strain the tea

Carefully and slowly, strain the hot tea into a cup with a strainer. Make sure you strain the whole spices properly. Not doing so can ruin the taste of your tea.

Step 9. Sweeten with some sugar cubes

sweeten with some sugar cubes

Depending on how sweet you like your tea, add one or more sugar cubes to your cup. Enjoy your Indian masala tea while it is still warm. Alternatively, you may add raw honey instead of sugar.

final

Additional Tips

  • You can vary the quantity of the chai masala and tea leaves according to your taste when preparing the tea.
  • You can also buy ready made chai masala from the market, with varying flavors and quantities.
  • You can add a few holy basil leaves, lemongrass and other dried herbs to the powder for accentuated taste and fragrance.
  • You can also use other spices, such as fennel, bay leaves and star anise.
  • You can add a pinch of black salt to the powdered chai masala.
  • You can store the powdered masala in an airtight container in a dark cupboard for several weeks.
  • This tea complements biscuits, cookies and cakes.

Summary of How to Prepare Indian Masala Chai:

indian-masala-chai-pinteres

 

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