Winter Wonders: Almost Authentic Indian Masala Chai Tea

Originally published: Jan 21, 2021

With the Polar Vortex approaching Toronto, I pulled out my Tea pan for a lovely Chai Tea to soothe my aching throat. I keep a sauce pan just for sweet foods like tea, custard, etc. and it’s treasured like a first born child.

I used to live with an Indian friend who would make amazing Indian Masala Tea and she taught me how to make it. Now I make it every time the weather gets cold. It doesn’t always turn out as good as hers but it’s fairly decent. I thought you, my two readers, might enjoy making this. This recipe is for 1 person.

100 to 250 ml water

1 bag Orange Pekoe Tea (I use Tetley)

1/4 – 1/5 inch Asian Ginger (you can use the normal Ginger but use more)

3 medium sized Green Cardamom

1/2 – 1/4 inch stick of Cinnamon

100 ml Whole or 2% milk

Sugar to taste


2 – 3 cloves

Take around 250 ml of water in a pan and boil the water. Take it off the stove and add the bag of Orange Pekoe tea. Steep the bag till the water turns a dark reddish-brown.

Fish the bag out, place the pan back on medium heat and add Ginger (or as much as you like), Cardamom (my friend uses black cardamon and if you can get a hold of it, use that instead of the green) and Cinnamon. You can also add a few cloves if you want a bit more warmth. I don’t like nutmeg but you can add some if you like it.

Boil the spices till you can smell it in the air, which take around 5 minutes and then add sugar. Dissolve the sugar (else it will stick to the bottom) and add milk. The amount of milk will depend on the percentage of fat in the milk, how you like your tea and the type of tea leaves you use. What you should get when you add the milk is a light brownish-pink hue. Whole milk is preferred because it gives you a thicker tea and you will be losing a bit of fat in the process of making this tea.

Now this is the time consuming part. Boil the milk till the cream rises to the top and then remove the pan off the heat till the cream settles (do not turn off the stove). Put the pan back on the hot stove till the cream rises again. Do this about 2 more times and take it off the heat to cool slightly. Strain the spices and the cream and enjoy!

My friend usually boils everything together in water and then milk – the tea bag and the spices. I use the steeping method because I’m a bit paranoid about boiling the paper in the tea. Alternatively, you can just boil the tea without the bag as well as the spices first in the water and then the milk. Boil them in the water till the water turns a dark brown before adding milk and sugar.

As you make this tea, you will learn to refine it to your taste. Adjust the amount of water and milk so that it doesn’t water down or overwhelm the taste of the tea. Remember, cardamom (and milk & sugar) add sweetness while Ginger and Cinnamon (and Cloves) add a bit of spice to the tea. Keep these flavors in mind when making your tea.

Featured Image: Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

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