There’s nothing like a really good cup of masala spiced chai tea to warm up your heart and your body on a chilly day. The fiery blend of seasonings combined with the sweet smoothness of vanilla and milk make chai tea a drink people all over the world revere.
During a Diwali celebration about a decade ago, a dear friend’s mom spoiled me by making me the best masala chai tea I’ve ever had. Such incredible deliciousness has made me a bit of a “chai snob,” I have to say.
So, in the quest to make something just as spicy, creamy and wonderful at home, I’ve tried just about every chai tea concentrate and teabag available on the Western market. And honestly, virtually all of the masala chai you can buy in American coffee shops and grocery stores taste bland and watery, often with far too much sugar in them to make up for the lack of flavor.
But then, most processed and packaged foods come up short compared to their traditional, homemade counterparts.
That’s why I asked my friend Nahid, an Ayurvedic nutritionist, for her favorite traditional masala chai recipe, so I could finally have the authentic tea that I fell in love with so many years ago, right in my own home.
I was not disappointed, and I know you won’t be either…
- 8 tsps. of black or rooibos tea
- 15 allspice berries
- 12 black peppercorns
- 8 cloves
- 5 green cardamom pods (where to find online)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 star anise (where to find online)
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- seeds from 1 vanilla bean (where to find online)
- 5 cups of water
- small muslin bag, cheesecloth or fine mess strainer
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or 1/4 cup raw honey (if desired), to taste (where to find coconut sugar online)
- Crack the allspice, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom and anise with the back of a large knife.
- Place all the ingredients including the tea into a small muslin bag or cheesecloth tied up. Or add loose and be prepared to strain the tea later.
- Add the spice/tea mixture, ginger, cinnamon sticks and vanilla to a medium sized pot of boiling water. Turn the burner down to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until reduced by about one cup.
- Remove the muslin bag/cheesecloth or strain the tea through a fine mesh strainer.
- Stir in the sugar or honey until completely dissolved.
- Makes about one quart. The concentrate will stay fresh in the fridge for up to one week.
- When ready to drink, gently boil one part chai concentrate with one part organic whole milk, full-fat nut milk or full-fat coconut milk.
- Muslin bag, cheesecloth or nutmilk bag (where to find online)
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