How to Make [the best] Chai [ever]

November 28, 2011
Chai has always been an integral part of our daily lives as well as our get togethers with friends and family.  At family reunions, my father had the honorary title of “chai master” and mine was “junior chai master.”  We used to joke about how when we were all sick of being doctors, we would retire and open up a small cafe called “Good Chai” and stock it with the best chai in the world and some mighty delicious snacks.  That way we could continue the tradition of people coming to our house and sipping mug after mug of chai and letting their problems melt away in the delicious warmth of this wonderful drink.
 
The Basics of Chai

Chai is a ubiquitous drink in India.  It is made across the country and is drunk both at home and at tiny tea stalls on road sides everywhere.  Interestingly, this beverage that so many people associate with India was actually not consumed until the time of the British Raj.  India grew a large amount of tea in areas such as Assam and Darjeeling, however the majority of Indians consumed coffee.  The British East India Company became concerned as they realized they were losing a vast source of income to the Chinese, who had a virtual monopoly on tea sales.  Thus, the East India Company began promoting tea to Indians.  At first, the Indians were skeptical, and did not want to abandon their strongly flavored coffee.  But eventually someone added strongly flavored spices to a sweet and milky tea and masala chai took off!  The chai is sweet and spicy with a subtle burn at the back of the throat.  It is, in a word, wonderful.

The Tea Leaves

The tea used in chai is very crucial to the final flavor of the tea.  Many people assume that they have to use the best quality tea available and use whole leaf Darjeeling or Assam tea, and end up with chai that does not taste quite right.  The tea for masala chai is a variety known as “mamri” or “little grain” tea.  It is cheap and strong and holds its own against the strong spices in the chai.  I recommend making a trip to an Indian grocery store to buy brands such as Lipton Yellow Label Tea, Jivraj No. 9, or Taj Mahal Tea.  If you do not have an Indian store nearby, buy Lipton or some other similarly cheap and strong black tea bags from the grocery store.  This tea will probably become your “chai only” tea, as it is not necessarily the best to drink plain, but is absolutely wonderful with milk, spices, and sugar.

The Masala

 

Much like the recipe for garam masala, this recipe also comes from my paternal great-great grandmother and has been passed down through the generations, giving all of us some pretty incredible chai.  While I am obviously biased I really do believe our masala is what makes our chai so special.  The chai masala is a delicious blend of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and black pepper.  All of the spices add a delicious warmth to the chai, and the black pepper and ginger add a subtle heat as well.   We have a specific ratio that we follow to make the spice blend, but feel free to adjust it as you deem fit.  If you’d like less burn, decrease the black pepper, if you love cardamom, bump that up.  The recipe is a great guideline, but feel free to change it as the seasons and your mood change!
Warning–Nerdy science note:  The flavors that make spices taste delicious are all aromatic compounds.  Aromatic compounds are made of molecules that contain a structure known as a benzene ring, meaning they dissolve best in alcohols or fats.  You may have notices this when making drinks, that adding a twist of lemon to a martini adds significantly more flavor in a shorter amount of time than adding a twist of flavor to a glass of water.  Similarly, if you make this chai with a non-fat milk, you won’t extract as many flavors from the spices as if you make it with a milk that has some fat.  So do your spices a flavor, and don’t make this with skim milk.  Nerdy science note done.
Making the Chai

There are many ways to make chai.  Some start by boiling ingredients sequentially, and others have strict rules about only stirring the chai 3 times in clockwise circles.  The way that my family makes chai is relatively straightforward.  We dump all the ingredients in the pot and let it come to a slow boil until it turns a beautiful, rich color.  We use loose leaf tea, so it is necessary to strain the tea once it is fully cooked (having a spouted pot will really help decrease spills).  Strain the tea, sit back, and enjoy.

 

How to Make [the best] Chai [ever]

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1 eight oz serving of chai, makes about 3 cups of masalaTotal:

Delicious, authentic chai, passed down from my great-great grandmother. Spicy and sweet and absolutely wonderful!

You'll Need...

  • For the chai:
  • 1/2 cup milk (not skim milk, see nerdy science note above)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 tsp. sugar, or your favorite sweetener
  • 1 tsp. loose tea leaves
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chai masala depending on your spice preference, see recipe below
  • For the chai masala:
  • **Please see additional notes below before proceeding regarding the total amount to make as well as the amount of black pepper**
  • 160 g. whole black peppercorn (or finely ground, same weight. Volume: 1 cup + 7 Tbsp)
  • 125 g. whole dried ginger or ginger powder (Volume: 1 cup + 8 Tbsp)
  • 50 g. cinnamon sticks (or finely ground, same weight. Volume: 1/4 cup + 2 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 50 g. whole cardamom seeds (or finely ground, same weight. Volume: 1/2 cup + 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 5 g. whole cloves (or finely ground, same weight. Volume: 1 Tbsp)
  • 5 g. nutmeg (or finely ground, same weight. Volume: 1 Tbsp)

Directions

  1. For the chai:
  2. Pour all ingredients into a (preferably spouted) saucepan. Place over medium heat. Allow to heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the milk. Stir the chai, scraping the bottom to avoid scalding the milk. When the milk comes to a boil, turn off the heat and stir well. Bring to a boil once again, turn off the heat and stir well. Allow to steep for a few minutes. Strain carefully into a cup, and serve.
  3. For the chai masala:
  4. If you are using whole spices, weigh out the appropriate amount, place in spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Mix all the spices together, store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry part of your kitchen. Do not expose to too much sunlight.

Additional Notes

The recipe was passed down in grams, I’ve tried to convert it into conventional measurements, but please be aware that the conventional measurements are of the finely ground not the whole spices. Please note, you will get best results if you weigh the spices, it’s most accurate.

The masala recipe makes a LOT of masala. Feel free to make 1/5 of the recipe, that's the easiest number to divide if you have an accurate scale.

Some have said that the recipe is a bit spicy for them. For those of you who are finding the recipe a bit too spicy, feel free to decrease the black pepper. Perhaps start by cutting the amount in half (80g) and then making a cup, if you can think you can tolerate more black pepper start adding in 10 additional grams of black pepper until you get to your perfect spice level!

Do you have extra chai masala on hand? Here are some recipes to help you use it up:
Chai Cupcakes with Lemongrass-Mint Whipped Cream
Spiced Chai Pumpkin Pie
Chai Spiced Granola
Chai with Ginger, Lemongrass, and Mint
Chai Sweet Potato Pie with Vanilla Cardamom Meringue

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226 Comments

  • Reply Damayanti November 28, 2011 at 5:03 am

    great job! may be i should start drinking tea. love you.

    • Reply Charmaine January 31, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Writing this from Australia, what a fantastic chai recipe-Thankyou will give this a go, hopefully it will bring back memories of my trip to India! Incidentaly great website..keep it up

      • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks February 1, 2016 at 11:09 am

        Thank you Charmaine! I appreciate the kind words and really hope that you enjoy the chai!

    • Reply Suresh Pai April 4, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      I liked your website. We have a slow food ( forgotten or slow moving traditional family recipes) movement at the Department of Hotel Management, Christ University. It would be my pleasure to put you in touch with the concerned professor so that both of you could add value to each other’s pursuits.
      Regards,
      Suresh Pai
      Professor and Associate Dean
      Christ University
      Bangalore
      9886645067

  • Reply carol November 28, 2011 at 5:28 am

    It is really the best tea ever. So glad you posted this- nothing compares. Yes, Damayanti should start drinking! Hope "Parle G " bisquits aren't too sweet. Where's my Indian snack mix?

  • Reply Tonya November 28, 2011 at 8:27 am

    WOW! Thank you!

  • Reply james November 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Amazing tea It sounds delicious !!

    Chai

  • Reply james November 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Amazing tea It sounds delicious !!

    Chai

  • Reply Amit November 28, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Thanx Tanvilu for this eagerly awaited recipe. Question- about how long does this masala stay good? Is making smaller batches more frequently better than making enough once a year!
    i am a ginger lover so might go generous on that and lighter on the black pepper. This stuff is sure to make the chai tea lattes look so impotent

  • Reply Kshama November 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Love your nerdy science note! You must add that to all the future recipes you are going to share with us.

  • Reply Suresh November 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I admire your passion for sharing some of the family pleasures with everyone. I could answer some of the questions, but will leave it to you. Heavenly!!

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 29, 2011 at 2:37 am

    @Mom: Thanks! But don't worry, I'll post your favorite ukalo soon!

    @Carol aunty: The Parle G biscuits are a little bit sweet, but not too sweet. I'm sure you've eaten them at our place before. I would have put out some of the bhusu, but I didn't have any at my house!

    @Tonya: You're welcome!

    @James: Thanks! It's super tasty.

    @Amitbhai: This masala stays good for a pretty long time. Dad usually makes a batch 3-4 times a year and that is about the perfect amount of time. I have had a batch that still is really tasty after about a year, but you'll probably have to add more on the 1/4 tsp end and not the 1/8 tsp amount. If you don't anticipate using the chai masala frequently enough, make the big batch and then keep out only a quarter cup or so, and store the rest in the fridge/freezer. Come back and visit us and I'll !

    @Kshama Aunty: Thanks, I'm so glad you liked the sciency stuff! Since you like them, I'll continue adding the science notes as they are applicable!

    @Dad: Thanks for sharing all these recipes with me so I can share them with everyone else! We're finally getting around to making the family cookbook.

    • Reply Meen Jariwala July 13, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Thank you!
      My favorite ” Chai Masala” .

  • Reply Rachel November 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Tanvi– just found this via Tastespotting (http://www.tastespotting.com/detail/147926/Chai-Spice-Blend) and I wonder– do you think it would be possible to pre-portion tea plus sugar plus spices into tea bags so that I could give jars of them as gifts for Christmas? I wonder if the spices will just escape and damage the ratio. Thanks!

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    @Rachel: You absolutely could do that! I used to do that when I was super addicted to the chai and relied on it in the mornings. I would take little premade tea bags with me when I was traveling! One thing I would recommend is to make sure you get fine mesh tea bags, rather than looser net like bags, otherwise all the tiny masala will slip out. Another recommendation is to avoid putting in sugar, unless you are absolutely sure that the person enjoys a sweeter beverage. If you are sure they do, then go ahead and put the sugar in it! That way they can just pop it into a pot with milk and water and boil it and go. Thanks for checking out my blog 🙂

  • Reply pia! November 30, 2011 at 5:33 am

    you're on tastespotting again! yaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

  • Reply Rachel November 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks! I am so doing this! I will give you credit, I promise. 🙂

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    @Pia: Yay! It's always so exciting when a picture of mine makes it!

    @Rachel: I hope your friends and family enjoy it 🙂

  • Reply Amrita December 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Love this post! I'm obsessed with chai too, how can anyone NOT be?!

    🙂

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com December 4, 2011 at 2:04 am

    @Amrita: I totally agree with you! It's soooo good!

  • Reply Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum December 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I'm a little intimidated by your spices. 🙂 But it;s worth a try for delicious homemade chai!

  • Reply Divya @ flavourfiesta December 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Fantastic post on chai, Tanvi! Love how you took the time to explain it so well. Sharing this!

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com December 11, 2011 at 3:58 am

    @Lindsay: Don't be intimidated! I promise the spices aren't as scary as they sound. And you'll have a delicious treat at the end. What could be better? 🙂

    @Divya: Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked the explanations.

  • Reply mop December 11, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    So it's essay time at school and I miss miss miss my little DOGGY BAG of your dad's chai masala! Also, I think this spouted pot you're using is a BRILLIANT plan seeing as most of my chai wound up on my kitchen counter when I tried to pour it out of a regular pot!

  • Reply Roopa Prabhu December 14, 2011 at 4:56 am

    hey tanvi , i have to agree that this is an authentic indian chai … to such an extent that even the pot u r using is same we use in india .Love the way you have explained . we should sip a chai together soon dearie .

  • Reply Dona December 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    found this through a Pinterest pin, and have made a huge batch to give to my daughter's teachers for the holidays. Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful recipe without using evaporated or dry milk, lol! just made my first cup – can't wait!

  • Reply Dona January 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I've noticed that some recipes call for star anise – do you have any thoughts on how that would change the flavor? I love how spicy this is – a great wake up tea! Thanks!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 20, 2013 at 8:06 am

      I imagine that star anise would be quite delicious and give the tea a nice depth of flavor. In my part of India, we don't use star anise quite as much in our cooking, so that's likely why it never entered our tea repertoire.

      • Reply Julie Tessler February 28, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        I can’t thank you enough for your chai recipe. It’s positively the best I’ve tried! I bought a scale, a spice grinder, and an insane quantity of spices to keep in a New York City apartment. Per your recommendation, I purchased Taj tea and I’m addicted!

        Do you have suggestions for a decaffeinated version? I’d really like to drink your chai in the evenings as well as in the mornings!

        Thank you again for your wonderful recipe!

  • Reply JILL CHOATE February 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! Best recipe for chai yet that I've found. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com February 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    @mop: Yes! Dad's doggy bags of chai are the best! And the spouted pan is completely key.

    @Roopa: We should def get chai together soon!

    @Dona: So glad you found it Dona. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

    @Jill: Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply notyet100 April 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Will try the chai masala sometimem..:)

  • Reply iffatali December 12, 2012 at 3:20 pm

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  • Reply Anonymous December 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    thanks! will try this soon!

  • Reply Dee Williams-Gonzalez December 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Hello! I've smoked for 20 yrs. Last month I came across Old Boston Masala Chai Tea by wellbeing… let's just say it's been good for my well-being. Decreased my nicotine consumption by 2/3. However, since I can't find it in stores, I'm making your recipe, w/ honey, no milk & adding basil. I'll be making this everyday. Thank you. I needed something simple and your recipe was the simplest.

  • Reply Anonymous January 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Since my supplier of loose leaf chai mix stopped selling it, I was forced to look for alternatives. Found yours and tried it and it is wonderful, best chai I have had, not that I am any expert. Not going back to the old ways, the little extra effort is worth all the flavor. I will also be paying about 20% of what I used to pay. Picked up a small gram scale on the cheap too. Thanks!

    • Reply Anonymous March 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      Update: Drink it every day and enjoy every sip. Have passed the link on to other chai lovers. Thanks so much for sharing this!!

  • Reply Linsey Shelton January 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    It's so sad that I can't pin this. 🙁

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com March 20, 2013 at 3:33 am

      Hi Linsey! I'm not sure why it can't be pinned. I'll try to work on it and make it 'pin-able'. Sorry!

  • Reply dhruva mankad February 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Hey a quick question are you a "NAGAR"…coz only we and only we have this last name..a little inquisitive on that..:)I came across your blog searching for a tea masala recipe..thanks will surely give it a try.

  • Reply Megan Fessak March 16, 2013 at 2:36 am

    why do some receipes have star anise?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com March 20, 2013 at 3:34 am

      There are a lot of regional variations on chai. Star anise is not a spice we typically use in my part of India. In parts of India where star anise is used, it often ends up in the chai.

  • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com March 24, 2013 at 12:56 am

    UPDATE: Thank you to those of you who pointed out that the images couldn't be pinned. I think they should be pinnable now!

  • Reply Ashley Carter March 30, 2013 at 12:21 am

    I absolutely love your blog! My best friend is from India and I'm quite taken with her cuisine but have not mastered her recipes yet. I just stumbled upon your blog and very much look forward to making your Indian recipes. Looking forward to many more to come! If the whole medicine thing doesn't work out you could always work on a cookbook! 😉

  • Reply Andy Ross April 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I've just returned from India where I became hooked on Masala Chai. I read your recipe, headed to Tesco's, bought the ingredients and had a go at making it myself. Result! It's great, thanks very much for a delicious recipe.

  • Reply Billy April 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    That was very nice, just made some chai massala to your recipe – and made a mug of tea as suggested – I just used cheap tea we use here in the UK. It reminded me of the spicy flavours we associate with Christmas spices in Christmas cake. The result was absolutely fantastic. I saved the extra chai massala powder in a jar for the next time. Luckily I had all the spices in my food cupboard as I'm already a huge fan of Indian cuisine. Thank you for this recipe.

  • Reply Julie Z. April 27, 2013 at 4:37 am

    This is such an awesome recipe! Thanks so much for sharing. I have looked at sooo many difference chai recipes, and have tried to figure out why mine doesn't taste like the ones at my favorite Indian restaurants. Now I know why — it is because of the black pepper. So many of the recipes on the web do not include black pepper in the ingredients list and this flavor was what was missing. Thanks again!

  • Reply Neets May 9, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Hi Tanvi..happy to have stumbled up on your blog. Though I've been cooking for years now, I still don't know how to make a decent cup of tea..so thank u so much for this!! Pls do chk out my blog wen u get a chance..hopefully, u will like it. I am now ure 53rd follower!!

    Neets
    neetustastytreats.blogspot.com

  • Reply Shivi Roy May 27, 2013 at 11:24 am

    I read your post and I really appreciate your experience. I will get good knowledge from there as well. Keep posting…
    Tea Masala | Spices & herbs

  • Reply Diana June 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Your chai recipe looks absolutely wonderful- I can't wait to try it. As someone who doesn't handle her caffeine all that well, I was wondering if there is any reason why decaf tea might not work (as per your nerdy science note). I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Thanks!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com June 16, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      I think decaf tea would work great! You probably wouldn't be able to find the 'mamri' tea in decaf, but you could use a good darjeeling or a good orange pekoe tea in decaf. Even a good english breakfast tea could be used. If you are using whole leaf, loose leaf tea, I would recommend using a touch more tea leaves (about 1.5 tsp). If you can't find loose leaf decaf, I recommend cutting open your tea bags so the tea can fully infuse. Enjoy!

  • Reply Uma June 18, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Love this recipe 🙂 i reduced the peppercorns to make it less spicy. Just wondering, should i roast the spices before i grind the,? My mum told me it lasts longer if it is pre roasted or it might spoil.

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

      We've never roasted, but if you try let me know how it turns out!

    • Reply Angela Hill October 28, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Roasting the spices brings out the natural oils, I usually roast mine in a bit of coconut oil..Oh my gosh, thee best!

  • Reply spicedvegan July 17, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Hello!

    I made your recipe! It was delicious! Grinding up the ingredients sounded easy – just bung 'em in the grinder but I'd totally forgotten about sieving out the sticks and stones in the spices. That was quite some work >< Just wondering, do you remove the cardamom husks? They didn't seem to fully pulverize in my grinder and so found I had to pick them out. Btw, also blogged about this so hope you don't mind me linking to your blog for the recipe. Cheers 🙂

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 20, 2013 at 10:10 am

      I use just cardamom seeds not the husks. That'll probably make your work a bit easier.

    • Reply Anonymous December 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      I use the cardamons fully. Either slightly warm it (40 secs – 80% microwave power). Then grind it with the other spices. Or simply add 1 tbsp sugar while grinding the unwarmed cardamons.

      also note some cinnamon sticks are stubborn to be fully ground. You can use the same technique.

      thank you.

  • Reply Loveneet Channa July 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Wats is the chai masala proportion for 1 cup tea….as I could not understand the proportion above…

    • Reply Rikki August 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      1/8-1/4t of chai masala per 1-8oz cup of tea.

  • Reply Chelsea Brown July 25, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Would soy milk taste ok with this?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 20, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Yup! Just be sure to boil the water and soy milk separate. Add the spices to the soy milk and the tea leaves to the water. The tea leaves don't really steep that well in soy milk mixed with water for some reason.

  • Reply Georgia Papadakis August 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you for this, now it all makes sense! I'll spare myself the embarrassment of telling you how I've been trying to make chai…

  • Reply Surkhab September 4, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Looks interesting, will give this one a try soon.

  • Reply Anonymous September 17, 2013 at 12:18 am

    This sounds like a delicious recipe. I was just wondering if there was any way I could make this into a loose leaf tea blend that I could just steep per cup in a home made tea bag? Maybe if instead of using pre ground spices I could use whole spices and just chop them coarsely?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 20, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I don't see why not! It probably would be difficult to get the spice level right, but I'm sure with trial and error you'll be able to do it. You really do have to boil it on a stove top, it won't taste the same if you just steep it in hot milk and water.

  • Reply Anonymous October 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to post this. I've been looking for a really great chai recipe and this has to be it!!! I'm lucky enough to live near an Indian grocery store so I won't have any trouble finding what I need. Thank you again

  • Reply Just jen October 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Sounds amazing! I can't wait to try. Also, could I just use a splash of lemon to extract the flavor of the spices? My husband has milk allergies 🙁

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com October 20, 2013 at 10:07 am

      If you're not going to use cow's milk I would recommend using a milk substitute. I've tried a couple and they don't work quite the same as cow's milk, but what I recommend is boiling the water and milk substitute in two separate pots. Add the tea leaves to the water and the spices to the milk substitute then mix together and strain. For some reason milk substitutes don't pick up the flavor of the tea quite as well as milk and water.

  • Reply charlesciepiel October 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this! Great results! Thanks for the "nerdy" insight too! Changed the way I looked at cooking!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Yay! Glad you enjoyed the science bit. There are some really great books to check out if you're interested in the science of cooking: Harold McGee's on Food and Cooking is incredible!

  • Reply Zed November 6, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Thank you for the inspiration! My spouse and I have always enjoyed masala chai at restaraunts and from specialty food stores, this was only the second time we had tried making it ourselves and it came out lovely. We were fortunate enough to have cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole nutmeg, etc. on hand so the process of grinding everything was half the fun. Wound up drying some fresh grated ginger in the toaster oven and adding a bit of star anise, but otherwise was following recipe. Would have never had this wonderful experience without finding your site. Namaste.

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 14, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      so pleased that you enjoyed the recipe! I love adding fresh ginger! And star anise certainly does add some pleasing flavors as well.

  • Reply xpsolutions November 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you Tanvi for sharing Chai Masala with us. I'm the "chai master" in my home. Daily I will have at least 4 – 6 cups. My recipe is almost same as yours just varying with what I have in spices. Sometimes I buy the ready mixed "Chai Masala" powder. I also add a pinch or two of Oregano leaves at the end which gives the chai a unique aroma.

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Ooh! Oregano leaves! I've never tried that before. I'll have to try it!

  • Reply Salma November 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I adore you for keeping such a wonderful blog and amazing passion towards food.I'm a food lover and enjoy even trying various eating styles. I've developed a great passion for tea, But isn't tea drunk for a purpose of enjoying its flavor and taste? And I suppose only a few things like cardamom can go with it and may not be a mix of all,as it can ruin the real 'tea effect' I extremely want to know about it being a one craving for the 'Best Cup of 'Tea'..You do Inspire! Love you

  • Reply Ivory Mason November 11, 2013 at 3:41 am

    So I tried this recipe, it's my first time trying to make it myself since I got back from India, but it didn't work for me. The mixture never darkened and it came out tasting just like black tea with milk. Any suggestions? 🙁 Maybe it's my spice…

    /hopeless in the kitchen/

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Keep trying! Watch your water milk balance, and make sure you are using cow's milk. Try adding some more spice. Hopefully with some practice it'll be delicious!

  • Reply Melissa November 17, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing your family's recipe! Just about all of the other recipes I've seen for chai call for whole spices, I assume that's because dealing with straining the ground spices is more difficult. What do you use to strain? A jelly bag?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com November 23, 2013 at 1:38 am

      I just use a fine mesh strainer and have not had any issues with the spices being too strong. Enjoy!

  • Reply bluebalu November 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Great recipe – it was so yummy, even without the nutmeg (which I did not have at home). Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Devi Audrey December 14, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Tanvi!
    Thanks for sharing your family's special chai recipe. I made delicious chai for the first time since returning from India 1.5 years ago. YAY! Curious: Why is it important to bring the chai to a boil twice?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com February 3, 2014 at 7:44 am

      I think the milk does not take on the flavor as strongly if you just boil it once! It's really a personal preference. My grandpa likes his tea only boiled once and I boil mine twice or thrice! Try all versions and see which one you enjoy the most.

  • Reply Md Asif Jalal January 8, 2014 at 5:10 am

    thanks a lot dear, u just have made my day…thanks a lottt…

  • Reply Rebekah Hamon January 8, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this. I just tried my fourth recipe for homemade chai tea, and none of them have the good strong flavor and burn that I love. Yours is more complex, so hopefully it will the "the one". Thanks again for sharing your family's recipe!

  • Reply Gayle Shier January 20, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I just used this chai masala to season apple chips, and it was amazing! This may be one of my new favorite snacks. This recipe is the gift that keeps giving.

  • Reply DesignLily January 21, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Thanks for the nerdy science note. I wanted to make a big batch of milk-free chai concentrate to freeze into cubes so I could drop them in smoothies. Because of your nerdy science note, I added some alcohol to the mixture during steeping and later simmered the mixture long enough so there's not a trace of alcohol flavor.

    Hooray for being able to customize the recipe for my needs because of your nerdy note. Thanks!

  • Reply Gonçalo Gomes February 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Just to confirm, was this made with indan/chinese cinammon, sometimes called "cassia bark" or true cinnamon? Also, do you ground the entire cardamom or do you throw out the pods? 🙂

    Can't wait to try this chai.

  • Reply Anonymous March 3, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Thanks for your post on chai! I have now made some individual "top secret" tweaks to your recipe to make the seriously best chai in the world, but I started with your base! Mmmmmmm.

  • Reply Melissa March 7, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Love this recipe. It's much simpler than others I've tried. Great pics also.

  • Reply Anonymous April 4, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Perfect! I have drunk gallons of chai all over India and Nepal. Scalding hot, sweet, and strong. Indian railways a particular favourite.

    Well, your recipe is the closest I have found so far! Thank you!

  • Reply Kathleen Clark April 14, 2014 at 8:25 am

    This is the best! I did reduce the pepper..because 1c of pepper over powerd it to me. Does it turn out the same if you boil it in just water…and add the milk after?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com April 19, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      It does not turn out the same at all. Please read the text along with the recipe–I address exactly your questions! I get my strainers in India, but you will always end up with a tiny bit of spice at the bottom. Some people love it. I always start swirling the cup when I am about 1/2 done to get it to evenly disperse!

  • Reply Kathleen Clark April 14, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Also..where do u find a sufficient strainer?? I thought I had a fine one…but I still get spice "sand" in the bottom of cup?

  • Reply Robert R. D. Thames April 27, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I know this recipe has been here for a while, but I must say this is the best chai masala I have ever tasted! And the best part is that I can make it whenever I want thanks to you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Next I will try the spiced chai pumpkin pie or chai cupcakes with lemongrass mint whipped cream. :^D On another note, this was my first attempt at making the masala myself. Thank you for making it so easy to understand.

  • Reply kate myette May 13, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I'm not sure if anyone has asked this, but what do you think about Almond milk with this recipe?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com May 20, 2014 at 5:30 am

      I think it would be good! Just boil the water and milk separately with the tea leaves in the water and the spices in the almond milk. That's the only way I've found that it works best. Enjoy!

  • Reply Melissa June 28, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Best chai I've ever had. 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous June 30, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Good recipe but it's much much better made with fresh ginger.

  • Reply Anonymous July 22, 2014 at 3:05 am

    Excellent. I've had chai a lot, but never made it myself. Recipe turned out fantastic.

  • Reply R.C. Agarwal August 20, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I feel satisfied after finding this one.

  • Reply Jane Mc September 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Delicious! Now I don't have to keep going to coffee shops that load it with syrup in order to get my favorite Fall beverage. I have a question though: I tweaked it a little to make it richer by replacing some of the milk with heavy cream, and I added a little butter in it at the end. But now it doesn't taste as spicy. Could the butter or cream have toned down the spices? I like it spicy!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com September 15, 2014 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Jane! So glad you are enjoying the chai! I would recommend gradually increasing the amount of the masala blend if you are using a fattier milk product. You might even need to double or triple it! Enjoy!

  • Reply Anonymous October 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Hi thank you for this. I used to buy Chai tea bags until they stopped selling them in the supermarket. I had bought the spices but needed some clue how much of each I should use. This has been very helpful. Hopefully I can settle my IBS back down with the nice warming spices.

  • Reply Kavita Brown November 1, 2014 at 5:24 am

    HEllo – like the recipe – I made it with half the pepper and ginger and kept everything else the same – however it's still too peppery for me – any suggestions please as to how to rebalance?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com January 27, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Kavita, sorry for the late reply! You can feel free to take the black pepper down by half or even two-thirds. Feel free to customize the recipe!

  • Reply Joe B November 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    WOW! That's a great Chai recipe. THANK YOU! Where I live it's very hard to obtain many ingredients. Fortunately, we had everything we needed except the tea. Found a Chinese Black that seems to work well but need to use more of it. Also found that we prefer a bit more Cardamom and Clove powders. I guess we all have the right to our own ridiculous opinions. 8^) The biscuits you show are NA in our area. But, we did find that the Walker's Shortbreads are certainly compatible. Thank you for sharing your family's recipe. It is now our GO TO for Masala Chai.

  • Reply Anonymous December 8, 2014 at 12:41 am

    I found this recipe quite by accident and so happy I did. I put together all the spices including a quick run/shop to Chgo's large Indian District for more peppercorns.

    Years ago, I lived in India this recipe reminds me so much of what I drank everyday. Thank you so much.

  • Reply j.a. December 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I loved this recipe, but the gram to cup conversions are off. For example, 125 gm ground ginger
    is much more than 3/4 cup. I used the gram conversions.

    http://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/food-volume-to-weight

    might help getting the correct weight to volume conversions.

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com January 27, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you! We've always used grams, so I did my best, but I'll update the recipe with the conversions using that site. Very helpful!

    • Reply Anonymous February 1, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe. Just wondering if you freshly grind your spices or buy them pre-ground? And what measuring scale would you recommend for measuring chai spices accurately? thanks again

  • Reply Anonymous December 26, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Great recipe. I found that you were off a little with the conversions, but regardless, I have been using this recipe for the past two years at festivals in my country, and people love it.

    As a side note, I use rooibos tea as well as cutting a few grams of the ginger out, and using a little fresh stuff 🙂

    Love

  • Reply cách bấm hợp âm January 9, 2015 at 2:07 am

    cool

  • Reply Anonymous January 9, 2015 at 2:36 am

    I have always wanted to make chai from scratch like my friends who make it for me in their kitchens. Finally, after much searching on the internet, I decided that yours seemed best. I am very happy that I did. Thank you for the good baseline from which to start.

    I shared your family's chai with many, both those who love chai & those who have never tried it before but now like it. Thank you for making new chai drinkers and old very happy.

  • Reply the e-wife, Karen January 16, 2015 at 2:48 am

    My husband and I have a new addiction to Chai tea. We like to drink it in the evenings so I wanted to make my own decaf blend. Found your post on Pinterest and since I had all the spices in ground form I decided to go for it. Not sure if I'd like it, I just made 1/4 batch of the masala and jarred it up. I mixed 1/2 tsp. of the masala mix with 1 tsp. organic looseleaf decaf English Breakfast tea, the 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup whole milk, and 1 Tbsp. raw honey. WOW!!! It is MONEY!! I cannot believe how good it is (so spicy and warm) and how easy it is to make. I thought I would have to get all whole spices and make a big ordeal of this. The whole process literally took me 3 minutes to make the masala and get it simmering on the stove. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! So glad you were willing to share this wonderful family recipe!

  • Reply Walter Lewelt January 18, 2015 at 2:31 am

    I tried this chai some time ago at my Indian friend's home. I loved it. Than I started buying masala tea i packages (powder) It is good but I bet when I made one according to your directions, it will be delicious. Thank you. Tanvi, you are beautiful

  • Reply Lisa January 18, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    I have tried so many chai recipes. This is the one I've been looking for. Perfection. Thank you so much!!!!

  • Reply krista oestreich January 20, 2015 at 2:08 am

    This recipe is BOMB! My husband will love it! A little spicy for me though, what is the least amount of black pepper you'd be comfortable using to cut the spice yet keep the integrity of the tea because the flavour is amazing just too spicy …. ya know?!

  • Reply krista oestreich January 20, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Actually, was I reading your chai recipe wrong? as per one of your comments about conversions…. The recipe I made ended up making a MAD STASH. Like large mason jar of the chai blend. i.e:160 g. black pepper, finely ground, (1 cup + 3 Tbsp) meant literally, 1 cup and 3 tbsp of black pepper??? I think I did it right because the flavour was unbelievable and possible the most decadent I've ever tried….. but if not, that was maybe why it was so spicy….
    Or maybe they were talking about the grams vs cups….which I would know nothing about because, even with being Canadian, I can say I've never weighed a darn thing in grams hahah.

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com February 2, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Krista! I put in some updated measurements. It does make a LOT of chai masala. Feel free to half or quarter the recipe. Definitely use a weight scale that can measure in grams. It's the most accurate.

  • Reply Anonymous January 28, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Thank you for this beautiful chai recipe. I love it and so does my family. Just wondering if you have a recommendation regarding whether the spices are bought pre-ground or if one should grind them fresh or whether some spices are best ground fresh while others no probs if bought ground ie cinnamon and ginger?

    Thanks again.

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com February 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      It's always best to buy the spices whole. They will definitely taste better that way. For big spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, pound them in a mortar and pestle before throwing them into a spice grinder, otherwise your grinder will break.

  • Reply becky February 11, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Hi! I have been having chai at a teahouse (Townshend's in Oregon… it's amazing!). They are the first place I've had chai that makes it with a masala blend (you can see the spices settle in the cup) rather than a pre-made concentrate. It's sooooo good, but it's really expensive so I wanted to try making it myself. I also didn't want to use whole spices because i didn't want to do that much work every time I made it. The first recipe I found that used ground spices was okay, but not what I was looking for. It called for 1 tbs of everything except 1 tsp nutmeg. And no black pepper!!! Some of the tastes ended up way too strong and some too weak.

    When I found yours, I adjusted the ratio in my mix, added a ton of black pepper, more ginger, and a little more cinnamon and cardamom. And this time I boiled it on the stove like you said… thanks for the science note explaining why that's necessary. It tastes INCREDIBLE! Normally I sip my tea, but with yours I can't stop gulping it down! I actually throw some whole pepper corns in the teacup after I strain the other spices out… that prevents me from drinking it too fast because I don't want to swallow the peppercorns! haha! I also tried adding some cayenne pepper… the first time ended up too spicy, but the tiniest dash makes it burn a little more.

    A few questions… first, boiling the milk makes it stick to the sides, and then when I make another cup I have to wash it again. Is there a way to get it to stick less, or is it okay to boil another cup without washing? I do stir and scrape the sides with a spoon.

    Doesn't throwing the tea in with cold milk/water prevent it from releasing the caffeine or flavor? I've always heard to boil water for black tea and pour it directly over, and that if you use even slightly less hot water, it's not as good. I drank two cups of this chai last night and fell asleep an hour later, so it seems like the caffeine isn't as strong as it usually is. This morning I steeped my tea the "normal" way in half a cup of water (with the masala), put it on my teacup warmer, and added the milk after five minutes… the flavor is still okay, but not quite as good. Is there a way to steep the tea in boiling water and add the milk after? I don't have a microwave. What about boiling the milk/water/masala on the stove, and then putting the tea in when the liquid comes to a boil?

    What region is this recipe from? I'm going to give some of it as a gift to my mother and my best friend, and I was going to include some of the stuff you wrote about in this post… but I was wondering where specifically it's from.

    Thanks again for such an amazing recipe!!!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com February 22, 2015 at 1:48 am

      Hi Becky! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Regarding your question, a lot of people do it the way you described by heating the milk, water, and masala then throwing in the tea leaves when it is all at a boil. You should try it and you might like it!

      Others bring water to a boil, throw in the tea and the masala, then add cold milk and bring it to a boil. I don't like this method as much, because I think it makes the tea taste slightly raw and acidic, but others really enjoy it. Try both and let me know which method you like best and which gives you the best caffeine buzz! So happy that you are enjoying the recipe!

  • Reply AlexB March 7, 2015 at 12:59 am

    If you wanted to do it without milk, do you think that adding ghee would work as a substitute fat?

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com March 11, 2015 at 5:06 am

      I don't think that would work very well because it would not emulsify into the water. You could just steep everything in water. It won't be chai, but it'll probably still taste good!

  • Reply Monica April 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Your recipe sounds wonderful and I can't wait to make it ! I'd like to make the recipe from whole spices . Could you please give me the original measurements for the masala made from scratch using whole spices ? I would greatly appreciate it !

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com May 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Hi Monica, the original measurements are exactly what's written above. As long as you are using weight, the mass is preserved so you get the same amount of spices whether you use whole or preground spices.

  • Reply Celeste April 15, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe! I really love it but i'm finding that is a tad to peppery for me. Of course instead of starting slow I went all in and made the full recipe. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to tweak what I have made to reduce the peppery taste.

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com May 6, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Celeste, thanks for checking out the blog. I would add more cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. That should help balance it out.

  • Reply Anonymous April 22, 2015 at 1:59 am

    I can't wait to try your chai recipe.

    Things I fantasize doing to play with it:

    * Could add a one inch strip of twisted orange or tangerine peel. Or lemon peel.

    * Add a slice of ginger root for turbo charged tea.

    * Stevia works very well as a sugar substitute. Liquid stevia solutions are easy to
    try out. Add just one drop at a time and taste test until you figure out
    how much is best

    ** When choosing whole cardamom pods, I go for pods that are green, and feel
    each one. If the pod is hard and firm, its a good bet that the seeds are plump and black –
    which is exactly what you want. Avoid pods that are slightly soft to the touch.

    What you want is green cardamom. There is another spice called black cardamom,
    which is quite different from the green cardamom pods –the black variety has a flavor
    that is deeply smoky and reminiscent of eucalyptus(Vicks cough drops)

  • Reply Anonymous April 24, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Tanvi,
    Just finished making your chai recipe for the first time and need your advice. First, I used fresh ginger instead of powder and put it in the masala jar along with all the other spices to keep in the frig. Was this incorrect? I also ended up with 4 oz instead of 8 oz of chai so assume I let it boil too much (although it never came to a full rolling boil)? Also, the chai had the sweet taste ( used Stevia) and the pleasant burn you described but I couldn't differentiate among the spices. In other words, it didn't have layers of interesting tastes that I expected.Can you suggest changes or was I wrong to expect this complexity ? I'm not giving up so will wait patiently for your guidance. Many thanks for sharing this interesting recipe ! Mary

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com May 6, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Mary, you are supposed to use dried powdered ginger not fresh ginger. Also, I'm not sure how you ended up with 4 oz if it never boiled. You should use 1/2 cup (4oz) milk and 1/2 cup (4oz) water for a total of 1 cup (8 oz) per serving. I think if you make the spice blend with the powdered dried ginger and allow it to boil it'll have more complexity. Also, be sure to use a full fat milk.

    • Reply Anonymous May 8, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      ThanksTanvi
      I will get dried powdered ginger and keep practicing. It's already getting better ! Mary

  • Reply Anonymous May 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I made both the chai and the garam masala last weekend, and they were both impeccable. After many attempts at using whole spices, nothing gets the flavor into the milk like powder. I did a few renditions of the chai (the garam masala was spot on), and for the commercial-style coffeehouse chai, as stated above by the author, I cut the pepper in half, added cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, and a touch more nutmeg. Also, I whittled down the amounts and rather than using the ounces in the recipe, I replaced with 1/4 ts. Therefore I wind up with very small, always fresh batches of the stuff.
    Thanks for posting these recipes!

    • Reply tanvilu@gmail.com May 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm

      Great idea! I personally like the spicy kick, but everyone should definitely modify to their own taste preferences.

  • Reply Chai Tea K-Cups in Chicago May 27, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Tanvi, that looks like the best chai tea I've ever seen. Can't wait to try it! Goodness me.

  • Reply Zarif Mohammed June 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    If I were you I will make a video of cooking chai and show how it is done along with the text you have on this page.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks June 14, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Hi Zarif, that is a great idea! I’ll work on my video editing skills and try to do one at some point!

  • Reply Lee Baker June 14, 2015 at 4:14 am

    Hi Tanvi, I’ve just made a cup of chai with your recipe. It totally transported me back to the chai shop I used to visit everyday in Varanasi. Thank you so much!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks June 14, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Hi Lee! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it!

  • Reply Kareemah June 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for this. It’s one of the few recipes that uses all ground spices so I can make it batches. I’m allergic to cinnamon so having an authentic homemade recipe is very welcome.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks August 14, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Hi Kareemah, I’m glad the recipe is working for you! I’m sorry about your cinnamon allergies, but there are so many other spices in this recipe that I imagine you won’t miss it terribly. You might want to increase some of the other spices to your preference for balance.

  • Reply Lean July 26, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Love your recipes, thanks for share with us, Good healthy chai recipes.

  • Reply Ela September 29, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Can I use almond milk or coconut milk? Is there enough fat content to properly absorb the flavors?

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks September 29, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Hi Ela! Thank you for checking out the recipe. I have never tried using almond milk or coconut milk, but I have tried using soy milk. One thing I have noticed is that the tea does not seem to steep as well in those milks. I suspect that this is because they are made to mimic the mouth feel of regular milk and so have a lot of chemical thickeners in them. What I’ve done with soy milk in the past is to boil the spices with the milk substitute and steep the tea leaves in water and them combine the two. It’s not quite as good, but it seems to work better then boiling them all together. Let me know what you try and what works well for you! Also, if there are options available, use a milk substitute with a higher fat content.

  • Reply Lana October 15, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Delicious. Thank you!

  • Reply Heather November 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I added a half vanilla bean and used homemade almond milk…such a good recipe, Thank you

  • Reply ellie graham December 1, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Hi Tanvi Thank you so much for sharing this family recipe! I went to Bollywood in Portland and had the best chai ever…and have been on a mission to find just what I love best.
    The first time my daughter and I made the tea and with great anticipation and in fact, squeals of excitement…and upon taking our first sips, ran together to the sink to spew it out. It made for great laughs. BUT the second try, we followed the directions carefully and are IN LOVE!!! This is even better than Bollywood!
    I really like the science note too. I was using low fat milk and it just was not as rich and spicy. Mystery solved, thank you! So another science question: why boil it twice? Does it release the flavors more? Also, I have an electric stove that takes a really long time to come to a boil…should I add the tea later so it does not steep too much?
    I added a little fresh turmeric and ginger root to mine also…do you know if the root would have more anti-inflammatory benefits than the powder?
    I am thinking about gettting growler jars with the final product, milk and all to give as gifts. Would it keep for a week or two?
    Sorry, lots of questions…you have inspired me. Thanks!!!!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks December 1, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Hi Ellie! I’m thrilled to hear that you have enjoyed the chai so much! I live in Portland, too, and think Bollywood’s chai is good, but I definitely prefer my family’s recipe. I’m glad that you’ve started using full fat milk. It definitely makes a huge difference. To answer your questions:
      1. I boil it twice, because I think that extra boil helps to deepen the flavors and steep the tea even more.
      2. I personally like my chai to have a strong tea flavor. If you don’t like that extra sharp tea flavor, feel free to add the tea leaves later on. My husband prefers the chai when the tea leaves have been added just before the milk comes to a boil for the first time, so if he’s drinking with me that’s what I usually do!
      3. I’m certainly not an expert on the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and ginger, but a quick review of the scientific literature on curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) does not indicate if the anti-inflammatory properties are from the powdered or the raw form. I say, pick whichever one you like better and go with it! With ginger, I prefer the flavor of the sliced raw root as a flavor boost, because there already is a good amount of dry, powdered ginger in the masala.
      4. I definitely do not think that the chai will keep well in growlers. It would certainly have to be refrigerated to prevent spoilage. Also, having refrigerated the chai and reheated it in the past, the flavors change quite a bit (and, at least to me, not in the best way). If you’d like to give it as I gift, I suggest making small jars of the chai masala, putting a little card in with the chai recipe (and a link to the blog, please!), and to make it pretty, perhaps tying a piece of fresh or dried ginger and some fresh or dried lemongrass stalks in a decorative way.

      I hope this was helpful! I’m so happy you checked out the blog, and I’m doubly happy to hear that you are so excited about the chai!

      • Reply ellie graham December 1, 2015 at 11:29 am

        Wow, Tanvi! Thanks so much for the thorough and helpful reply! I am actually from the smaller east coast version of Portland, Asheville, NC. I visited Portland last summer and really enjoyed it! I appreciate your saving me the hard earned lesson about the growlers. I did intend to refrigerate but I will go with the masala gift…and the extra touches sound nice! The extra fresh ginger and turmeric roots add so much flavor/ kick. I have never used lemongrass…but will now. I am so glad I found your blog and will definitely pass your link to my friends. We all are trying to learn different Indian specialties, very authentic so you are a wonderful resource!

  • Reply Chana December 15, 2015 at 4:17 am

    Could I make this with just milk, no water?

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      You definitely could, but I don’t like it as much! It’s a bit too creamy for me. That being said, try it and you might like it!

  • Reply Deborah January 13, 2016 at 9:50 am

    This is fabulous…I cut the pepper by 1/4 for my personal taste. This is going to save me a lot of money buying bottles of chai. Thank you

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 26, 2016 at 9:32 am

      Hi Deborah! So glad you liked it! And I’m glad that you are making it your own!

  • Reply John Pierre January 15, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Is it okay to dry fry all the spices before grinding them?

  • Reply John Pierre January 16, 2016 at 1:26 am

    Is okay to dry fry the spices before grinding them?

  • Reply John Pierre January 16, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Is it okay to fry the spices before grinding?

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 26, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Hi John! I would not fry the spices before grinding them. If you are worried that the spices are a bit stale or damp, you can heat them in a very low oven (150-200F) for a few minutes and then grind them. Thanks for writing!

  • Reply Jenny Brown January 20, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Tanvi,
    I drink chai every day but the brand I like is a bit expensive (Blue Lotus Traditional Masala) so I’m excited to try your recipe and make it myself!
    I ordered Taj Mahal Brook Bond loose-leaf but they sent me Taj Mahal Orange Pekoe loose-leaf tea instead. Is this the right type of tea to use or should exchange it?
    Thank you kindly,
    Jenny

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 26, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Hi Jenny! I hope you like the recipe! You should be just fine with orange pekoe. It’s a slightly milder flavor that the Brook Bond, but it should work. I have an aunt that does a blend of Brook Bond, Orange Pekoe, and Darjeeling tea and it is very delicious!

      • Reply Jenny Brown January 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm

        I do! I love it! It is just as good if not BETTER than the expensive tea I was buying! I started with 1/2 the pepper and upped it to 120g. That was plenty of kick for me.
        Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us, you’ve made a friend for life!!! 🙂
        I noticed in one of the comments, you mentioned that you only use the seed of cardamom, not the green pod. I didn’t see that in time and ground up the green seed pods. It was also the only variant of whole cardamom I could find. How do you get the seeds out?
        Does grinding up the pods effect or weaken the cardamom flavor?
        Thank you, Tanvi. I’m so excited to have made my own chai!

        • Reply Jenny Brown January 30, 2016 at 2:25 pm

          Replace the word ‘pods’ with husks. You likely understood my mis-wording but thought I’d clarify to be sure.

        • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks February 1, 2016 at 11:09 am

          Hi Jenny! I’m so glad to hear that you are happy with the chai, and happy that you’ve modified it to make it the way you like it. With regard to the cardamom, if you use the same number of grams of whole cardamom, the flavor of cardamom will likely be a bit diluted. The husks have very little flavor, but they also don’t weigh a whole lot! To make up for it, just throw in a bit more cardamom before you grind. The whole pods certainly won’t adversely affect the flavor.

          If you’d like to buy the whole cardamom seeds, your best bet is to go to an Indian grocery store or look online. Some reputable websites are Penzeys and Patel Brothers. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply Christina January 21, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Hi! I was wondering where you suggest buying the whole spices? Do you have a favorite online retailer? Stores in my area don’t sell whole spices like these 🙁 Thanks!

    • Reply Christina January 21, 2016 at 5:37 am

      Also – when you use whole cardamom, do you grind the pod and the seed, or just the seed??

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 26, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hi Christina! I think that Penzey’s does an excellent job with whole spices. They are available online and have always had good quality whenever I’ve purchased from them. Additionally, Patel Brothers products can be purchased online as well and has high turnover for spices. With regards to the cardamom, please use cardomom seeds and not the whole pod. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect that, as well. Thank you for catching that so I could clarify!

  • Reply Iman February 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I made the chai masala last night and have already made the tea twice today! it’s amazing!! by far the best recipe I’ve found, and I’ve tried a lot trying to find a good recipe! also got to browsing the blog and the rest of the dishes look amazing!! I’m transitioning to become a vegetarian and I feel like this blog just made it a little easier:)

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks February 1, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Iman! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the chai! And I’m happy that you liked browsing through the other recipes. Keep checking back in periodically as most of the recipes I post are family recipes, a lot of which are vegetarian! Thanks for checking it out!

  • Reply Danica February 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Yummy! I Love chai, thank you so much for sharing how to make it on your blog!

    I just ordered this chai spice blend on etsy, and using your method it is truly amazing, so warming and comforting on these winter nights!

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/263470098/medicinal-masala-chai-blend

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks February 19, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Glad you like the method! If you have time, I would definitely encourage you to make the spice blend. It’s pretty tasty!

  • Reply Flora Fiorillo April 2, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Hi Tanvi, thank you for the recipe! Few questions:
    is it only 1/4 of a teaspoon in spices? What if I want to use fresh ginger?
    Can I store the compound in a mason jar?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks April 2, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Hi Flora! Thank you for checking out my chai recipe! You are certainly welcome to use more masala if you want your chai to be spicier. I tend to use a modestly heaping 1/4 tsp personally. If you would like to use fresh ginger, I would still recommend making the chai masala as written and when you brew the chai add in a thin slice or two of fresh ginger or a small amount of grated ginger. If by compound you mean the masala blend, then yes, absolutely store in a mason jar! I don’t recommend storing the chai after it is made as the flavor gets altered with storage. Let me know if you have other questions! I hope you enjoy!

  • Reply Miki Moore April 9, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Hi Tanvi – Thanks for your recipe. I have tried it and love the ‘bite’ that it has. My question is the use of dried versus ground spices. I used the ground spices that one finds in an American grocery store. Would it be richer if I got dried spices from an Indian grocery or online and ground them?

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks April 9, 2016 at 11:33 am

      Hi Miki! Thank you for checking out this recipe! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it so far. I definitely think that there is more flavor and more of a bite when you grind spices fresh yourself. Once spices have been ground, their aromatic oils start to oxidize and the flavor gets steeped away. If you’ve already made a batch of the masala with pre-ground spices, stick with it, and when you make your next batch try using freshly ground ones and see how it goes! Keep me posted!

  • Reply Andi Castillo June 9, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Hi thnaks for the receipe, i love it!!!! I add just a little slice of butter, tomake more creamy my chai.

  • Reply marsh June 11, 2016 at 5:15 am

    very tasty, thanks.

  • Reply D-money June 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    This stuff is slammin’! I’ve stopped trying to go easy on the milk and sugar and have accepted that the strong spices need the creamy milk and the sweet sugar to round out all the flavors.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks June 14, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      I’m so happy you like it! You’re totally right about it needing the milky element because it makes the flavors balance really well!

  • Reply ellie graham June 15, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I love your chai! Do you have a family recipe for cardamon coffee too? Thanks!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks June 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

      My family is primarily chai drinkers, but one of my aunts does drink coffee with cardamom. She tends to put in a few pinches of cardamom powder when she brews it up! My husband’s family is South Indian, so I’ll investigate with them and keep you posted.

      • Reply ellie graham June 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

        Thanks, Tanvi. I will try that in the morning and look forward to hearing more.

  • Reply Carly June 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! My mother and I have been wanting to make some homemade chai, and this looks perfect. I’ll have to post how it turns out! Thanks!

  • Reply californiateahouse June 19, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I think most people would agree with your article. I am going to bookmark this web site so I can come back and read more articles. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Hearty Thought July 8, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Can’t wait to try this!
    Loved the Nerdy science note! It made me understand why some recipes use coconut oil.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks July 8, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Absolutely! Fat is an incredible flavor extractor. Glad to hear you enjoyed the note. Hope you like the recipe too!!

  • Reply Amy October 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I had a friend bring me back some chai masala and tea from India a couple of years ago, then I ran out of the chai spice mix last winter with a pound of tea to spare. :/ I found your site looking for a remedy for that situation. I made a big batch following some general proportion guidelines from your recipe and it was great! I did add some ground vanilla beans as well, and it was a lovely addition. I just ran out of the masala mix again and came back to remember some details, made another batch… and then I ran out of tea with no Indian grocery anywhere near. But you thought of everything and even had a link to an amazon listing of the right kind of tea! So next week I’m back in chai-business at home again. Thank you! Oh, I also steeped the spice mix and some tea in some milk/heavy cream for an ice cream base. Whoa. That’s worth trying.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks October 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Amy! I’m so happy to hear that you found the chai. Adding in the ground vanilla beans sounds absolutely incredible. I’ll have to steal your idea and try it myself! I’m glad the links were helpful, too. The right type of chai is important. I linked to my favorite brand, which is the Jivraj one. But of course, everyone has their own preferences, so try a bunch and settle on your favorite. I’ve done the chai ice cream too, and it is soooo good! One day I’ll get a recipe up on this blog! Thank you, again, for enjoying this recipe and for checking out my blog!

  • Reply sandra stephenson October 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    I had to adjust the pepper as I found it far to strong, the amounts on the original recipe could be made in a smaller version perhaps one quarter, as smaller amounts may be used for one or two people ,and would not go to waste or loose it’s flavour.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks October 30, 2016 at 12:49 am

      Hi Sandra! Thanks for your feedback. I actually address both of those issues in the ‘additional notes’ of the recipe. I recommend dividing the recipe by 5, since a few of the measurements are just 5 grams so it’ll probably be easiest to do it that way. And with regards to the pepper, we love our tea super spicy, but definitely understand that that’s not to everyone’s taste. What I recommended in the additional notes portion is to start off with only 1/2 of the recommended amount of pepper and adjusting up if you’d like it to be spicier. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Annie October 31, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Hi! I’m really excited about making this chai masala and will use the proportions in the recipe for my daily tea. However, I am wondering if you have a suggestion for how to make a large batch to serve at a gathering. I would like to use a large hot beverage dispenser but not sure on the best way to do this. What proportions should I use? Should I have the guests add in their own milk and/or sweetener after dispensing the hot masala, like I see them do in the restaurant that I usually get my chai from, or just make a large batch on the stove and put it in the dispenser? Any suggestions you can give me are greatly appreciated. Thank you for the great blog and recipe!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks October 31, 2016 at 10:39 am

      Hi Annie! Glad you’ll be using this recipe, be sure to look at the additional notes section to make sure that the spice level works for you!

      With regards to the large batch question, the recipe doubles, triples, etc. easily, but my recommendation would be to increase slightly, the amount of masala and tea leaves.

      So, basically, you figure out how much chai you want to make and use half milk and half water. If you’re making a half gallon of chai (2 quarts or 8 cups), I would use 4 cups water, 4 cups milk. I probably would use about 10-12 tsp of tea leaves (because larger batches tend to dilute the flavor), and about 1-1.5 tablespoons of masala for the same reason. If you use that as a rough metric, you can easily make a gallon or more of chai.

      My recommendation would be to make it with the milk and water together and hold off on adding the sugar. That way, after it is dispensed, people can sweeten it as they like.

      I hope that’s helpful, and feel free to get in touch with other questions.

  • Reply Jess November 23, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    This is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe! I’ve been making it with black tea, but I didn’t want caffeine tonight so I just put the sugar and spice into a cup of hot milk and it was still delicious. (And I normally hate hot milk.)

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks November 23, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Jess! I’m so happy to hear that you have enjoyed the recipe! And that is one of my favorite night time drinks, just a bit of masala in warm milk with sugar. It’s so soothing! I will only drink hot milk if it’s spiced this way. In my family, we call that masalo. I’m so glad you discovered it on your own. Happy thanksgiving!

  • Reply Molly Maloof, MD December 17, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Amazing recipe! Was dying to find a recipe like this to give as gifts. I added 3 g. star anise, 5 g. of allspice, 5 g of vanilla beans. For the ginger I used 1/2 ground ginger and 1/2 crystalized ginger. Ground it all in my vitamix using the flour container. I sifted it all to remove lumps. Incredible!!!!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks December 17, 2016 at 10:55 am

      Those sound like incredible variations! What a great idea! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe.

  • Reply susan January 7, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Made as posted though I did reduce the black peppercorns to 23 g. for a 1/5 recipe. For my young Indian guest, I made her Chai with almond milk. The other pot for me used whole milk. I used demerara sugar, though I think that jaggery might be good as well. Excellent. What a lovely way to end an Indian feast.

    In the future I might add some star anise and try the masala with dried ginger which I might find more present than the ginger powder. I wanted more ginger flavor.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 7, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      I love making chai with Demerara sugar! So delicious. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I bet that jaggery would be wonderful. Star anise would be delicious as well! If you want more ginger flavor with the blend you have now, you can try adding some sliced fresh ginger. I have a lemongrass ginger chai variation that does that. The link is in the additional notes section of the recipe. So glad you’ve enjoyed it so far!!

      • Reply susan January 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm

        All great ideas. I am looking forward to investigating the options.

  • Reply Margaret Ruskiewicz January 9, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you! This is the first chai I’ve ever made! There’s so many random sites to choose from and I chose yours since the two of you look adorable and your site looked personal. Definitely not like another milled out one. I used my vitamix to make the masala (that thing can make everything, totally essential in a kitchen) and I have an Indian grocery store a few blocks away to get all of the essentials. Have you made chai with star anise? Any recommendations on modifying the recipe to include it? Lastly I’d like to make a larger mason jar full of concentrate. Just don’t want it to get bitter by over steeping the tea or over boiling the spices. Any recommendations on that? I look forward to trying out your food recipes 🙂

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Margaret, Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you enjoy this chai recipe. I’m also 100% with you on the vitamix. They are amazing! To answer some of your questions, I personally have never made chai with star anise. I’ve had chai with star anise and have enjoyed it, though! I find that the star anise can be a bit overpowering, so my recommendation would be to add about 5-10 g of powdered star anise to the full amount of chai masala called for in the recipe and then increase from there. You can also, of course, plop in a half to one star anise into the chai as you are making it to see how you like that too! You may wish to decrease the ginger and cardamom as well, because sometimes those flavors can clash.

      In terms of a concentrate, I’ve never actually tried making a concentrate for chai. My best guess would be to make a chai simple syrup: equal parts water and sugar, steeped with three to four times the tea leaves and spices for volume of water. I would guess that if you bring everything to a boil and let it steep for about 15 minutes, that should be a good balance, you could then stir that into warm water and milk. But, your question has inspired me to pursue this further, because I think a chai simple syrup would be delicious in so many things, so stay posted and I’ll work on a recipe! When I was in college or travelling, I used to make little individual tea bags with the right amount of chai masala and tea leaves for an individual cup. That might be a fast way to speed up the chai making process. It’s not as good as boiling everything but is certainly more efficient! Thank you for getting in touch.

  • Reply Tiffany January 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    No one else seems to be having this issue, but I don’t see an actual “recipe” anywhere. I have no idea where to even begin. I’ve viewed the site using Internet Explorer and Firefox (using both my computer & phone) and although I can see the four sections, pictures and commentary, there is no information on the measurements. I’m baffled because everyone else seems to know it or can see it. The only live link I see if for garam masala, but nothing for chai. Would you be willing to email it to me or repost it here? Thanks!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Tiffany, I’m having some issues with the site right now. Do you mind checking back in later? I’m sorry it’s not working! I can leave another comment when things are back in normal working order.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      I think I have resolved the issue. Please refresh the page and let me know if you still can’t see it! I’m so sorry about the glitch!

  • Reply Virginia January 18, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Same here about the recipe being missing! Just wanted to let you know it wasn’t an isolated case.

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 18, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks, Virginia. I’m sorry for these issues. I’ve reached out to my plugin developer to see if they can solve the issue. Apologies!!

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      I think I have resolved the issue. Please refresh the page and let me know if you still can’t see it! I’m so sorry about the glitch!

  • Reply susan January 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I have added this recipe to pepperplate, if you would like to grab it. There are two sets of weights…. the original, and then divided by a fifth which was a better amount for me.

    http://www.pepperplate.com/sharedrecipe.aspx?id=48fddb19-6e27-41d7-b8f8-2d13e1c501ab

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for pitching in, Susan. Hopefully this issue gets resolved soon!

      • Reply susan January 18, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        My pleasure. Least I can do in exchange for your recipe generosity.

        • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks January 18, 2017 at 1:53 pm

          You’re so kind! Thank you! I think I may have fixed it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but thank you for sharing your personal link.

  • Reply Tiffany January 18, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Hello, please ignore my post from earlier today. I got hime and tried your website again and an entire bottom section opened that was never there earlier. Must be something in a firewall??? But I see the full ingredient list and process now. Yay!

  • Reply Catharina February 2, 2017 at 5:14 am

    Hello!

    I think I’m a little late to the party as I see you’ve had this recipe up for a long time 🙂 I have just made it and love it! Thank you so much. I was also glad with your warning for the pepper because a smaller amount is good for me.

    I do have one question: I used finely ground spices and noticed that these go through the strainer. So after drinking the chai, I realised a lot of the spices remained on the bottom of my cup. Do you use an especially fine strainer or do you just accept the spices sinking to the bottom of your cup and leaving them there? 🙂

    Kind regards,
    Catharina

    • Reply Tanvi | The Hathi Cooks February 2, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Hi Catharina,
      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the chai, and glad that you cut down the pepper to your liking! With regards to your question about the strainer, the strainer is primarily to capture the big spice particles and the loose tea. Some spices always slip through. In my family we lovingly refer to this as the chai dregs! I sort of think of it in the same way as Turkish or Greek coffee: some silt always gets left behind. I personally don’t enjoy the dregs, but my dad loves it, so when I’m drinking chai with him, he’ll finish my dregs. Otherwise, I try to leave behind as little actual chai as possible, when I ultimately wash the dregs down the sink! I hope that helps!

      • Reply Catharina February 4, 2017 at 7:09 pm

        Thank you! We’ve been drinking lots of chai and leaving just a little bit of dregs every time 🙂

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