Masala chai can be made quickly with a ready-made homemade spice mix. Masala chai is a mix of spices blended with black tea. This authentic recipe makes a delicious chai.
Masala chai is a powerful blend of tea, herbs, and spices cherished for centuries in India. Some people think it’s too complicated to make but I will show you an authentic, quick and easy masala chai that you can make at home any time.
Masala means ‘mixture of spice’ in Hindi. Chai rhymes with ‘pie’. Chai is the word for tea in many parts of the world. So when we mistakenly say ‘chai tea’ in America, we are really saying ‘tea tea’. Masala chai is simply tea (chai) with a spice mix (masala).
This sweet spiced tea from India is made from rich black tea and spices. Each blend is unique but most include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Traditional Indian chai spice blends are designed to promote health and peace of mind.
Tea is to the body as music is to the soul.” – Earlene Grey
The more I learn about chai the more benefits I find in this delicious blend of tea, herbs, and spices. It has transformed a love of tea for many.
My oldest daughter is not a big fan of plain black tea but she loves masala chai. I first discovered chai when I read a book by the co-founder of Oregon Chai, Tede McMillen titled “Nirvana in a Cup.” The book was later re-titled “Million Dollar Cup of Tea”.
It’s a fascinating story that takes you on the journey of a mother-daughter business team. It describes how they created and grew a beverage brand from a kitchen recipe to a $75 million-dollar company in ten years. It’s a great read if you’re interested in food entrepreneurship.
Since I introduced my daughter to chai and she loved it so much I would just buy the tea concentrate. Then when I tried other brands of chai, I found they never really tasted quite as good. Eventually, I decided to learn how to make my own masala chai.
All chai spice blends use cardamom. It is the most important and also the most expensive spice in the mix. In fact, cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world. The good news is you don’t need a lot of it to flavor your tea.
For the tea, I recommend a strong black tea such as an English Breakfast, an Indian Assam or a nice Chinese Keemun. You want to select the type of black tea that holds up well to milk and sugar to balance out the strong spice flavors.
Quick and Easy Masala Chai
Quick and easy Masala Chai. A superb spiced beverage which provides warmth and a soothing effect. Make a batch of the spice mix (masala) ahead of time and save for future cups of chai (tea).
Masala (Spice) Mix:
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 2 teaspoon pure cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon black loose tea
- 1/4 teaspoon masala (spice mix)
PART 1: Make the Masala Mix
Grind masala spices in mortar & pestle or electric spice or coffee bean grinder.
Measurements are for the ground spice, not the whole spice.
Mix all the spice ingredients together.
Place masala mix in a sealed glass spice jar.
Label and save.
PART 2: Blend the Masala with the Tea
Pour all the chai ingredients into a spouted sauce pan.
Bring to a slow boil and reduce, stirring continuously.
Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes.
Turn heat on again to warm up and stir well.
Froth with an electric milk frother.
Or do as in India and pour from a height of 12 inches to achieve the same effect!
Strain into a cup and enjoy.
The spice (masala) mix itself is enough to yield about 60 cups of chai using 1/4 teaspoon per cup. Save in a glass spice jar. If you like a little more kick, you can increase the black pepper. I used a moderate amount of pepper in this recipe.
Cardamom is revered for its medicinal properties dating back to Egypt’s Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BCE. The Ebers Papyrus is the Egyptian document of herbal knowledge and is one of the oldest and most important medical documents of the time.
Indigenous to the hills of southern India, cardamom is used in many recipes for its’ sweet and savory wellness qualities. Cardamom is known as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. It also acts as a diuretic and antioxidant. The seed is chewed as a breath refresher.
Cardamom is a good source of Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, iron, and manganese.
An interesting tidbit – the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Arabs all thought cardamom contained aphrodisiac qualities and added it to their love potions. I’ve read that it helps with erectile dysfunction. Maybe that’s why it’s so expensive?!
Chai spices are loaded with major nutrition and without the extra calories. Nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger all have excellent health benefits, but as an added bonus, chai also contains the single most antioxidant-packed substances on the planet—like cloves and cinnamon. Add the spice mix to tea and you compound your antioxidants.
Medicinal Goodness from this Easy Masala Chai
Black tea – Tea is high in polyphenols, a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants have proven health benefits to cardiovascular health.
Black tea contains an amino acid called l-theanine, which is unique to tea and has some very interesting effects on the brain. L-theanine increases alpha brain waves inducing a calm and deeply relaxed state. Combined with the caffeine, which is about half the amount found in coffee, the overall effect is a focused calm. You can read more about the benefits of l-theanine here.
Clove – Often used for upset stomach. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Calcium and Iron, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Magnesium, and Manganese.
Cinnamon – Contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. Some studies show that the antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory activity.
Black Pepper –One tablespoon of ground black pepper contains moderate amounts of vitamin K, iron and manganese, with trace amounts of other essential nutrients, protein, and dietary fiber.
Nutmeg – The beneficial components include dietary fiber, manganese, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, and copper. Nutmeg has a long list of benefits even though it is often used sparingly as it can be toxic in very large doses.
Since ancient times, nutmeg and its oil were used in Chinese and Indian traditional medicines for illnesses related to the nervous and digestive systems. The compounds in nutmeg are reported to be soothing as well as having stimulant properties on brain.
Ginger – A good source of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Ginger is used frequently for dyspepsia, slow digestive motility symptoms, constipation, or colic.
Secret Tip: Freshly grinding the spices with a spice grinder gives you the full benefit of the aromatic compounds in the spices. Aromatic compounds are the flavors that make these spices so delicious. Chai is best made with whole milk to extract the full flavor of these compounds.
This easy Masala Chai is a superb spiced beverage which provides warmth and a soothing effect. Chai acts as a natural digestive aid and provides a wonderful sense of nourishment and well being.
If you really don’t want to make your own spice mix you can always just buy the black tea already blended with the whole spices.
Enjoy Your Easy Masala Chai Recipe
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