It’s been a weird autumn in Ohio, weather-wise. But finally, we’re getting a little of that awesome crisp, cool weather. I finally felt the need to wear a sweatshirt, yay! And there’s nothing I love more than warming up with a cup of homemade Indian masala chai.
Quick lesson – chai is the word for tea (not just in India but in many countries across the globe) so if you want to get technical about it, you should just refer to it as “chai” and not “chai tea.”
Also, the chai that we normally associate with in the United States (that milky, slightly spicy and really sweet tea beverage) is referred to as “masala chai.” (Masala is the word for spices.)
Mmmm…spices make EVERYthing tastier! Don’t you think?
While I’ve ordered the Starbucks Chai Lattes – it’s not my favorite as it’s watered down and WAY too sweet.
The recipe I’ve listed below is basically what my mom and grandma would serve. Your whole house smells so good as you make it, and while it has a couple more steps than just ordering a drink through the drive through, this homemade masala chai is so worth it!
This is a total comfort drink for me and I hope you love it as much as I do!
To be honest, you can skip the step of toasting the spices before adding them to the kettle, but I just love how you bring out the the warm sweetness of these spices by toasting them.
When I was a child visiting my family in India, I remember a family member would would take a big ladle, toss in some spices and hold it over an open flame to toast the spices each night. Once we could smell the gorgeous aroma of the spices wafting through the room, we knew they were ready to be used in a recipe. (If you’d like to read about some of my adventures visiting India, check out this post!)
Sadly, I don’t have a gas stove (or a giant ladle) and so I just toast my spices in a dry pan, over medium high heat for a few minutes.
I like to buy my spices in bulk from Whole Foods as they are really fresh and much cheaper than buying them in little jars in the spice section.
Here’s my recipe for an easy homemade masala chai
Masala Chai Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 inch piece of ginger root, sliced
4-5 cardamom pods, crushed until they crack
2 small cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
4-5 pieces of whole black peppercorn
4-5 pieces of whole cloves
5 bags of quality black tea
2 tbl sugar (I prefer brown or turbinado sugar for added caramel notes, but granulated also works)
2 cups milk (whole milk is preferred but can substitute half/half, 2% or milk substitute)
Masala Chai Instructions:
- Place whole spices in a dry pan and toast over medium high heat, shaking pan occasionally, until aromas are released or about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take ginger root and thinly slice. Set aside.
- Place 2 1/2 cups of water, sliced ginger and toasted spices in a pot over high heat until boiling. Turn down to a simmer and simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add in the tea bags and simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Take off heat and let tea continue to steep for an additional 2-4 minutes, as desired. The longer you let it steep, the spicier and bolder the flavor.
- Add in sweetener and place pot over a low heat. Stir until all sugar is dissolved.
- Add in milk and continue to stir until warm.
- Strain tea bags and whole spices, and serve.
- I often drink some of this and pour the rest into a mason jar and stick it in the fridge. Leftover masala chai is great served over ice, or reheated in the microwave.