A warm and robust cup of Kadak Masala Chai. Strong Indian tea prepared with aromatic spices and ginger. Masala Chai is often referred to as Chai Tea - a beverage you can find at most coffee shops in the West.
Growing up in an Indian household, tea was (and still is) a staple in our home. Ever since I was little, I fondly remember my mom having a cup of tea with a digestive cookie or some namkeen (salty snack). It's no surprise that I started drinking tea by the age of 16.
In my family, we are all chai lovers, although addiction may be the right word here. We often meet for elaborate chai sessions which include multiple cups of tea, desserts, Indian snacks, and lots of chitchats. It's our way to connect with one another.
Every time I go back home, the one thing I look forward to most is my chai sessions with my mom, sisters, and nieces. It has become such a ritual of ours, and I know we'll be doing it for years and years to come. It's all about bonding, sisterhood, and sharing.
Now that I'm living on the west coast, I need to find myself some chai buddies, but for now, it's just me. 🙂 I've been experimenting for months to come up with my own version of Kadak Masala Chai, one that's strong and hits the back of your throat. It's taken me a few months to perfect so I hope you will try it and appreciate it. My tea is flavorful, gingery, and robust in flavor.
What's the difference between Kadak Masala Chai and Chai Tea?
I know most Desis irk at the words "Chai Tea" because it's literally saying "tea tea" - which makes no sense. Similarly, words like Ghee Butter essentially means "clarified butter butter."
Having said that, Chai Tea or a Chai Tea Latte is simply a drink you would find at most western coffee shops, and nowadays you can find them in India too.
Masala Chai is brewed with loose tea leaves, spices, milk, and sugar. Chai Tea on the other hand is a powdered mix (or concentrate) of spices and tea leaves which is then combined with milk.
I'm not gonna deny that I haven't ever ordered a Chai Tea Latte. I have. And I actually really enjoyed it. The one drawback of the Chai Tea Latte is that it's pretty sweet. Normally, when you can order lattes with controlled amounts of sugar and sweeteners, however for a Chai Tea Latte you typically can't control the sugar.
What kind of milk should I use for this recipe?
I recommend using whole milk when making kadak masala chai, however I also use 2% reduced-fat milk because I don't always enjoy super thick chai.
I don't recommend using 1% low-fat milk or skim milk.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
For a vegan option, I recommend oat milk (Oatly works). The key is to not overboil your oat milk, so here are a couple of options:
- You may add the oat milk when adding milk but don't overboil the chai.
- You may warm up oat milk on the side and add it to the chai towards the end. Again, do not overboil the chai when using oat milk.
Tips on how to make good Kadak Masala Chai
- Make sure the water is simmering before you add the spices and ginger.
- Ginger is KEY in this recipe. I love how the flavors hit the back of my throat.
- Add the tea leaves once the water is simmering.
- DO NOT boil the tea leaves for long, only boil the tea leaves for 30 - 45 seconds max and then add the milk. If you boil the tea leaves too long, this will result in bitter tea. Trust me, I've experimented enough.
- Pull the tea as you bring it to a boil, this allows the flavors to combine and creates a frothy mixture.
- Now add cardamom while the tea starts to boil. Adding cardamom towards the end will enhance the flavor of the tea.
- Once the tea is done boiling, cover the tea with a lid for a minute and let the flavors marry together.
Now that you've read my tips on making a good cup of Kadak Masala Chai, proceed to make it. Hope you love it. Follow me on Instagram and tag me if you make it.
kadak masala chai is:
Warm and Spicy
Soothing when you're sick
The Best Masala Chai 🙂
How to make Kadak Masala Chai step by step?
1. Heat up a pot of water on medium-high heat.
2. While the water comes to a simmer, use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices - clove, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick. Add the cardamom at the end.
3. Once the water simmers, add the crushed spices.
4. Grate ½ inch piece of ginger directly into the pot of water. This helps the juices of the ginger directly fall in which adds a lot of flavors.
5. Reduce heat to medium. Bring the water to a boil - about 1 minute.
6. Once the flavors start to boil and the color changes slightly, add the tea leaves. Boil for 30 seconds max.
7.. Immediately after, add the milk.
8. Pull the tea a few times to help mix all the ingredients. This also creates a frothy mixture.
9. Bring the tea to a boil, make sure the tea doesn't overflow so stay close. This will take about 3 minutes. Add the crushed cardamom at this stage which will enhance the flavor of your tea.
10. Once the tea comes to a boil. Turn off the gas. Cover with a lid for one minute.
11. Strain the tea into a glass/mug. If you require sugar, add it directly to your tea. Enjoy with a digestive cookie, my favorite way to enjoy tea these days.
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Kadak Masala Chai
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cardamom pods - premium quality, else use 2 small cardamom pods
- 1 black peppercorn
- ¼ inch cinnamon stick, sliced in half
- ½ inch piece ginger, grated or crushed
- 1 ½ teaspoon tea leaves, I love Wagh Bakri
- ⅓ cup organic whole milk, you use ½ cup for more milky
- Heat up a pot of water on medium-high heat.
- While the water comes to a simmer, use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices - clove, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick. We will add the cardamom at the end.
- Once the water simmers, add the crushed spices.
- Grate the ginger directly into the pot of water. This helps the juices of the ginger fall in which adds a lot of flavor.
- Reduce heat to medium. Bring the water to a boil - about 1-2 minutes.
- Once the flavors start to boil and the color changes slightly, add the tea leaves. Boil for 30-60 seconds max.
- Immediately after, add the milk.
- Pull the tea a few times to help mix all the ingredients.
- Bring the tea to a boil, make sure the tea doesn't overflow so stay close. Add the cardamom at this time.
- Once the tea comes to a boil. Turn off the gas. Cover with a lid for one minute.
- Strain the tea into a glass/mug. If you require sugar, add it directly to your tea. Enjoy with a digestive cookie - it's my favorite way to enjoy tea these days.