Indian Chai

I could not confirm the story, but apparently the recipe of the famous masala chai (Indian spiced tea) was an invention of a respectful British lady in Kolkatta in the 19th Century. She was the wife of some important East Indian Company merchant. In the boredom of her Indian exile, she started to use the spices on hand to flavour her teas, served to the British guests. Upto the big action of British Tea Company in the end of 1800’s, tea was not a very popular drink in India, So, even if the story is not true (none Indian confirm it), the origin of masala chai must be in the Indian British culture, and maybe that is why it is one of the most loved ways to drink tea all over the world (East and West).
Ingredients (per person)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon black tea leaves (Daarjeling, Assam…)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (at least)
  • fresh ginger mulched or a full cardamom pod (black pepper, cinnamon stick or clove could be also added, even though daily chai does not include these spices)*
* Masala chai mixes are sold ready made, but dry spices cannot offer the richness of aromas and flavours than fresh crushed ones. For a real Indian taste, you might buy the most fragant and fresh ingrdients and crush them just before making the tea.

On a morter or a hard piece of paper, crush the selected spices, and keep them aside.
First boil the water. Then add milk, tea and sugar according to your taste. Put the mix to fire. After it boils again, add the spices and let it boil for a third time. This way the spices will free their aroma, but won’t cover all the flavour of tea.

The result should be sweet and smooth.


Indian chai is not cooked in front of the guests. The amount brewed might be enough to refill their cups. Glasses are used in the street stalls, but, at home, ceramics are preferred.


Tea can be served with sweet or salty snacks.


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