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Masala Chai Recipe

Traditional Masala Chai

Cooking with Amy

My thanks to Sonoma Syrup for sponsoring this post. I only work with brands that I personally believe in and use.

Hot, creamy, spiced, black tea is called masala chai in India. In Hindi chai means tea and masala means a mixture of ground spices. But in the US we often refer to masala chai as chai tea or chai tea latte. During Winter I crave masala chai. I first tried it in an Indian restaurant. It was rich with milk and very, very sweet, then in college, I discovered the pleasure of making it myself. I got the recipe long before the internet, from someone I met at a party. Calling it a recipe might be a stretch, it’s more like general guidelines.

Funny that tea is not even mentioned in the recipe! But that ancient scrap of paper is the basis for my recipe, which is a combination of strong black tea and milk, flavored with cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and fresh ginger. I’ve tried many commercial versions of chai, but they often use flavorings or ground spices rather than crushed whole spices and I like mine much better. I find the chai at most Indian restaurants to be too sweet. Making it at home, I used to use white sugar, but Sonoma Syrup White Ginger, Pumpkin Spice or Vanilla infused simple syrups are even better because they add another layer of flavor.
There’s no right or wrong way to make chai. You will see some recipes that use whole spices or grind them completely, some simmer the tea bags with the spices and some simmer the tea, the spices, and milk. The best thing about making masala chai at home is that you can adjust the technique and the spices to your liking, something you can’t do with chai mixes, tea bags or concentrates. Just as I adapted the recipe I was given, you should do the same, experiment with different spices or different proportions to make it truly yours.
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Masala Chai

Makes 2-3 servings
Ingredients
4 cardamom pods
4 black peppercorns
3 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 thick slices fresh ginger
2 cups water
2 tea bags of strong black tea or 1 Tablespoon loose black tea
1 cup milk, or more to taste (dairy or non-dairy, I use 1% dairy milk)
Sweetener—white sugar, Sonoma Syrup Pumpkin Spice, White Ginger or Vanilla infused syrup to taste
Instructions
Crush the cardamom, black pepper, clove and cinnamon and bash the ginger slices, but do not grind any of it completely. In a pot combine the water and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over low heat, covered for 10 minutes. Add the tea and turn off the heat. Cover again and let steep for 5 minutes then add the milk. Strain and add sweetener to taste.
Enjoy!