Better Late than Never in Making Masala Chai at Home

Containers of chai cooling down for the fridge

Containers of chai cooling down for the fridge

You can file this under lame, or lazy, or just plain wasteful.

Why I never started making masala chai (Indian spiced tea) at home I’ll never know.  I have been telling myself to look into this for years, but just never got around to it.

Enter a post I read related to Project Food Blog, a FoodBuzz competition, from The Doctor’s Kitchen.  There it was:  a simple recipe to make what you have to pay dearly for in any cafe.  I adapted the masala chai recipe slightly to serve my main purpose, which is “generic” cold chai, sans milk, to do whatever I please with.  Often I just pour it over ice and add a little sweetened condensed milk, or just skim milk, or I drink it as-is. 

Easy, easy, easy, and you’ll be flush in chai.  Make plenty at a sitting, like I do.

If you want it hot, sweet and milky, as served in a cafe, just add some milk and sugar (or sweetened condensed milk) after the steeping and bring to just under a simmer.

By the by, chai just means “tea,” thought it has taken on the meaning of “masala chai” over the years among the English and the Americans.

Please don’t pour it over ice as soon as it’s made or it will be cloudy and weak.  Let it cool on the counter top and then move it to the fridge to get cold.  It’ll be worth the wait – nice and strong and clear.

Making chai

Making chai at home

Masala Chai
   Makes 2 quarts

2 quarts water
8 whole cloves
8 green cardamom pods
1 whole cinnamon stick (which you can reuse a couple of times – I do!)
6 tea bags (use bags that produce a good, strong cuppa BLACK tea)

1).  Bring water and all spices to a boil in a saucepot.
2).  Simmer for 15 minutes.
3).  Add tea bags and simmer for no more than 2 minutes.
4).  Remove from heat and squeeze and remove tea bags.
5).  Allow to cool a bit in the pan.
6).  Remove spices with a skimmer, reserving the cinnamon for the next pot.
7).  Transfer to glass pitchers.
8).  Allow to cool almost completely on the counter and then cover and pop in fridge. 
9).  When completely cold, serve as you like.

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4 Responses to Better Late than Never in Making Masala Chai at Home

  1. Love masala chai…but seldom go through with making it and then always ;ament why I didn’t and made lame tea with a teabag…:)

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the comment! Now that I have this down by rote, I’ll make it often – but I also don’t mind plain tea :-) There are fancy recipes out there, but this is easy, tastes good, and the more simple it is, the more often I’ll make it!

  2. I want to try this…a nice change from regular tea which is good in its own right..and I agree..simpler is better.

    • admin says:

      Totally – give this a try! I bought large containers of the spices at Costco and now I’m set. Newman’s Own Organics “Royal Tea” works really well for this, BTW!

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