Home Street food recipes How to make Indian masala chai

How to make Indian masala chai

by Chasing a Plate
How to make Indian masala chai

Masala chai or spiced milk tea is the lifeblood of the street food culture in India- especially in the northern states. People huddle around chai stalls sipping on cups of the strong, milky brew as the chaiwala (the person preparing and serving the tea) boils up pots of sweet tea pulling the tea by pouring it from one pot to the next to create a frothy foam prior to serving.

Masala chai is commonly laced with fragrant spices including fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and sometimes even saffron. You’ll often spot the chaiwala grinding the spices onsite prior to preparing the next round of tea. We’ve filmed masala chai stalls all around India and wanted to recreate this street food favourite in our home kitchen.

Check out our video recreating masala chai and then have a go at whipping up a couple of glasses yourself with the recipe below….

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Watch how we make masala chai…


Ingredients (for 2 small cups of masala chai)

1¼ cup of full cream milk
 ¾ cup of water
A small knob of ginger
3 cardamom pods
1 small stick of cinnamon
5 generous pinches of loose leaf black tea
2½ tsp sugar

Ingredients for Indian masala chai
Ingredients for Indian masala chai

How to make Indian masala chai

Crush and bruise the ginger, cardamom and cinnamon using a mortar and pestle or with the end of a rolling pin (like we did in our video above).

Boil the milk, water and spices in a saucepan preferably over a gas flame. A gas flame allows you to control the heat easier than an electric element. If you don’t have a gas cooktop do what we did and use a butane gas cooker which you can find easily from a store such as Walmart.

Allow the mixture to boil for 3-5 minutes so that the spices infuse the liquid.

Add the tea leaves and sugar and continue boiling.

Raise the liquid to a boil and then turn down the heat- do this about 5 times. This allows the tea to release its flavour.

Strain the tea to remove the spices and tea leaves.

Before serving pull the tea by pouring the tea from the saucepan into a mug and back again from a height. This creates a frothy, foamy brew. 

How to make Indian masala chai
Masala chai (spiced milk tea)

Watch how masala chai is made in India…

Masala chai being made in Kolkata, India
Watch this video to see a masala chai stall in Delhi, India

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