Homemade Chai Masala

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

The secret to a great chai is in the masala, the spice mixture. When I was growing up my mom was always experimenting with her chai. She would tweak the recipe one way or another, sometimes adding new ingredients. More than a few times we woke up to orange-zest chai. That was my least favorite of her experiments. All of her trial and error was worth it in the end because now she makes the best chai in the world!

Dried ginger for chai masala by indiaphile.info

Even though my mom still experiments with her chai, she has a masala that serves as the base of most of her chais that she will then add other ingredients to, such as lemongrass, mint, extra black pepper or ginger for an extra kick.

In our house, Steve and I usually only have chai as a weekend treat. But I love having this chai masala on hand. It makes a delicious cup of chai with minimal effort and without having to open too many spice jars. This is the recipe for my mom’s chai masala that she has worked on and perfected over the years. Her secret ingredient is saffron! This masala lets me make a chai that comes close to but is never quite as good as hers!

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai Masala by Indiaphile.info

Chai Masala

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ginger powder
  • 2 tbsp cardamom, ground
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 tsp saffron

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients and store in an air tight container.

Notes:

  • I always start off with whole spices to get the best flavor. I grind them individually in a coffee grinder and then mix them to make the masala.
  • When I made this batch of masala, I did not have any dried ginger on hand. So I just cut up a ginger root into slices and stuck it in the oven at 200 degrees for about 2.5 hours. Perfectly dried ginger! Then I just ground that up in the coffee grinder.
  • You can grind most of your spices in a coffee grinder. I have one just for spices that I don’t use for coffee. Grind some white rice in the grinder a few times to clean it out between spices you don’t want to mix.
  • Feel free to experiment with the proportions depending on the flavors you like most.

I made this post as our third submission for the Junglefrog Photo Contest.

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve been seeing recipes for chai so many time now that it would be a sin not to make it! Love the sound of this recipe and will definitely try it. Thanks so much in sharing yours for the home made challenge! Loving the photos!

  2. Claire says

    Thank you for this beautiful post, but how do you use the masala spices, tea, and milk into chai? What are the proportions and do you need to strain out the spices before serving in a cup? Thank you!

  3. renkiyo7 says

    Hello, I’m on a mission to make the perfect cup of chai.

    The best chai I ever had in America was from Kasa eatery. Their chai has a wonderful pop of cardamom in it, along with other spices and a rich tea taste. I’m wondering if ground spices are better to use than whole spices? I heard that grinding the spices in small batches can bring out the flavor a little better.

    • says

      Hello,
      This ground spice mix is what my mom uses to make chai. I know I’m biased, but I think my mom makes the best chai around!
      Grinding the spices increases the flavor and aroma of the spices. Because ground up spices lose flavor faster, I grind mine in small batches (just as the recipe above). This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of chai masala. If you don’t think you can use up that much within a couple of months, just halve the recipe when you make it.

  4. says

    What a lovely page. I am also a true chai fan in Vancouver missing my mum’s homemade recipe, but I discovered Trudy Ann’s Bombay Masala Chai. She’s Vancouver-based and only really sells at local Farmers Markets and stores, but she now sells online and her recipe is spot on! I like your suggestion of saffron – will definitely try it!

  5. Marc Lamarre, Montréal, CANADA says

    Namasté!

    I have been a spice nut since I don’t know when… Visiting India, Nepal and Sri Lanka was a spice nut dream come true!!! It could be interpreted as weird but I put chai masala in my homemade bread. I just can’t live without it!!! Very destabilizing, very unusual taste but once tasted: there is no coming back to white bread. Dhanyavard!

    Marc. Lamarre, adorenz@yahoo.com

      • michele says

        Sounds like a wonderful fall recipe! Do you measure the cloves and pepper before or after you grind them?
        Thanks

        • MarcLamarrer says

          Hi!\Namasté!

          Take all desired spices and weigh them before grinding. After, I mix them with flour before adding wet liquids (water/milk). Marc

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