- 15–21 green cardamom pods
- 9–12 whole cloves
- 3–6 star anise (optional )
- 15–21 peppercorns (optional)
- 3 cup of water
- 6–9 slices ginger (skins ok)
- 1 1/2 cinnamon stick- split lengthwise ( use your fingers to separate)
- 3–6 tablespoons loose leaf black tea, (or 3–6 tea bags) Or sub decaf black tea
- 3 cup milk of your choice- almond, oat, soy, cashew, hemp, macadamia, or organic whole milk ( I like unsweetened, vanilla-flavored almond or oat milk)
- 6–9 teaspoons (or more or less) maple syrup, honey, sugar or alternative. (Sugar is traditional, but I prefer maple. )
- Lightly crush cardamom, cloves, star anise and peppercorns, and place in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Add ginger, cinnamon and black tea. I like to muddle the ginger a bit right in the pot.Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let seep 10 minutes…. or for several hours. The longer, the more flavor.
- Add milk. Bring to a simmer once more, turn off the heat.
- Sweeten, taste, strain into a glass.
I typically use a ratio of ½ water and ½ milk. Some prefer less milk, so feel free to adust to your taste. You can also make this richer and thicker by using more milk and less water, or even all milk, simmering spices directly in the milk.
You can also make the tea part as strong as you like. Start with one tablespoon loose leaf tea and add more according to your taste.
You can make a big batch of the masala chai (without the milk) and refrigerate for up to 4 days, and heat up with the milk and sweetener when ready to serve.
You can add more whole spices and more black tea for an even stronger more concentrated version.
UPDATE: While in Northern India this month, I had this Chai with the addition of a handful of fresh mint leaves ( simmering in the chai) . ABSOLUTELY Delicious! Give it a try!
My notes: I made the version with the conservative spice amounts (with 3 cups of water). Will let steep for 1 hour. I previously tried 30 minutes and it wasn’t long enough.