It’s time for a cup of masala chai! Learn how to make your own spice blend

It’s masala chai time!
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Everyone knows how essential spices are in Indian cuisine, whether it’s biryani or sauces. But, spices in the chai (tea)? That’s right, almost every Indian household has some particular herb or type of spice blend that they like to add to their daily cup of chai. We call it masala chai. What garam masala is to Indian cuisine, chai masala is to brewing Indian tea.

For me, masala chai starts with my mom, who I think makes the best chai. As a child, I was captivated by his tea infusion ritual. At home, making the chai is a 10-minute ritual where mom first grates fresh ginger in water, adds the spice blend or chai masala, then boils it, adding tea leaves. , milk at room temperature and sugar. She waits for the final mixture to boil twice, one over high heat and the other over low heat. This is also called the double boil method, which takes about two to three minutes.

Chai Masala

Chai Masala
Image credit: Maude Frédérique Lavoie /

It took me a while to figure out how my mother made tea. She first brewed an infusion of spices to create a tasty base, then added milk to it. The spices mixed well and the color of the tea, not too milky and just the right shade of crimson brown, as I like it.

Just like the seasons, the masala chai mix in our kitchen changes from time to time. For the summers, a simple mixture of green cardamom and saunf or fennel seeds has been made. Fennel seeds are believed to have a cooling effect on the body, while green cardamom helps fight acidity. A combination that has helped ward off summer headaches and digestive issues. As we headed into the cooler winter months, warm, earthy flavors of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper were added to the spice blend.

Preparing masala chai at home is very nostalgic for me. I clearly remember the aroma of the dry roasted spices followed by the hum of the blender in which the whole spices were reduced to a fine powder. To dampen the noise, my mom closed the kitchen door, but there was little she could do to stop the aroma of freshly ground spices from filling rooms.

If we ever ran out of fresh ginger, mom would add dry ginger powder to the chai. The two give very different tastes. Dried ginger is spicy and sweet, while fresh ginger has a more complex flavor and is slightly tangy. But there is a problem with using fresh ginger to brew milk tea. There is an enzyme in fresh ginger that curdles the milk. To avoid this, first boil water and ginger, then add milk or boil water and milk together, then add ginger to it.

Making tea at home is a ritual

Making tea at home is a ritual
Image Credit: Ayaneshu Bhardwaj /

The composition of masala chai in India differs from region to region. For example, black pepper and cloves are not primarily used in the mixture in the western regions of India. In the state of Gujarat, a chai masala or a typical spice blend includes green cardamom, dry ginger powder, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Tulsi or basil leaves and even mint or pudina leaves are added to the chai along with the masala.

In Kashmir, black tea is replaced by green tea and infused with a blend of cardamom, saffron, crushed almonds and cloves. This mountainous region is also known for its famous – Noon chai or rose tea. It gets its pink color from baking soda, which is added during its preparation.

If you like your tea in a certain way, getting the perfect cup can seem like a task. Especially when someone else is preparing it for you. A barista in a cafe might end up brewing it too strong, while a tea vending machine fails even to brew a perfect cup of brewed tea. But carrying a small box of your favorite masala chai can make the ordeal of tea drinking outside your home bearable. Take it with you on your road trips, on trips and even keep a box of chai masala in your office.

A mix of whole spices for masala chai

A mix of whole spices for masala chai
Image Credit: Shutterstock

You can also use the spice blend when baking bread, rolls or rolls. Since the mixture has flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg, they will be a great addition to baked breads. You can also use it to season soups, sauces, salads or even sprinkle on sandwiches and buns.

Here’s a recipe for making chai masala and the perfect cup of double boil chai at home:

¼ tsp. powdered dry ginger or saunth

You can also use a combination of dry rose petals, saffron, dry tulsi, or holy basil and lemongrass leaves if you like floral and lemony flavors.

I prefer to dry roast whole spices over very low heat for 10 minutes, then blend them in a blender. This method allows the natural oils to be released quickly and gives more flavor. Alternatively, you can mix the whole spices as is or use a mortar and pestle to gently crush them. Ground or crushed green cardamoms will leave pods that you can add to your tea container or box, as many tea companies do.

Store this spice blend in an airtight container. If you are making a big batch, keep it in a freezer and only take out small batches if necessary. Once whole spices are ground, they tend to lose their flavor quickly, so it’s best to prepare them in batches.

To make double boil chai:

1 cup of milk, at room temperature

1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated

1. In a tea pot, add the water, grated ginger and chai masala. Infuse this spice blend for about 6 to 7 minutes over low heat.

Note: As a rule, a 1: 1 ratio of water and milk is used, but since we prepare the spices first, we increase the amount of water. You can adjust the ratio according to your preference.

1. Then add 2 teaspoons of tea leaves and boil. Put the fire down.

2. Then add the milk and sugar and increase the heat to high heat. Lower the heat now.

3. Let the tea boil over low heat for the second time. Turn off the heat and cover the tea pot with a lid for 10 seconds.

4. Using a tea strainer, pour the tea into tea cups.

Serve hot with milk rusks and enjoy! cellar

India’s romance with the chai – decoding the connection
Image Credit: Saveurs Secrets /

How do you like your chai or your tea? Share with us on [email protected]

About Francis Harris

Check Also

Ghee roast mutton recipe: try making a rich and juicy mutton curry for a gourmet meal

What is Indian cuisine without its rich and robust spices, right? And the case of …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *