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Homemade Masala Chai with Whole Spices

December 27, 2012

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesPin it!

It’s been a whirlwind of a week.

I arrived home in Wisconsin just in time for the blizzard.

I caught up with family and friends (and caught a 24-hour-ish stomach virus).

Then just when I tried to fly home to California on Christmas morning, my flight was canceled. (The entire crew called in sick. My first thought was sympathy; they’d clearly all come down with the same stomach flu I’d just been suffering from! But I suppose it’s also possible it was some kind of protest for being scheduled to work on Christmas day.)

Ginger, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise for homemade chai

Hours of airport lines and airline phone calls later, I succeeded in landing seats on a flight that left at 5am on the 26th– and on two more flights after that– which got me home. Exhausted, but home.

Palm tree reflected in a tea pot

So it’s a shorter post today than when I have the energy for rambling.

Green cardamom pods for grinding

The colder months call for warm, soothing drinks; the hectic holiday season calls for simple interludes that require you to slow down. Sip. Relax.

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesPin it!

A little ritual amidst the whirlwind can do wonders for your sense of calm. Boil water on the stove and pour it over loose green tea leaves; treat yourself to homemade hot chocolate; or better yet– homemade spiced chai.

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole Spices - made with Almond milk

You can enjoy this simmered blend of whole spices and milk (I used almond milk), whether or not you shy away from black tea caffeination, as I do (I left out the black tea entirely).

Cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise

And don’t be afraid of star anise, even if you’re wary of licorice, like I am; it belongs in the mix.

I hope you’re all savoring your time with family and friends, and taking time to savor your chai.

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesPin it.


Print this recipe. (PDF)

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole Spices

(Serves 2)

~ 6 cloves
~ 3 black peppercorns
~ 10 green cardamom pods
~ several cinnamon sticks
~ 1 star anise
~ 2 slices fresh ginger, peeled
~ 1Β½ cups water
~ 1Β½ cups almond milk (or milk)
~ 3-4 tsp. brown sugar
~ loose leaf black tea leaves, or 2 tea bags of black tea

Green cardamom pods for grinding

How to make it:

1. Grind all of the spices (except the ginger) together in a mortar and pestle. They are listed roughly in the order you might want to add them, so that the cloves and peppercorns end up most finely ground, the green cardamom pods at least all pop open, and the cinnamon sticks and star anise at least get broken up into pieces, even if they’re not finely ground.

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesCinnamon and cardamom

2. Place all the spices, along with the ginger (and the black tea), in a small saucepan and add the water, milk, and sugar. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil.

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesTea time

3. Once the tea comes to a boil, pour it into a large teapot (or leave in the saucepan– just remove from the burner and cover with a lid) and let steep for 10 minutes, or to taste.

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesHomemade Masala Chai with Whole Spices

4. Pour through a tea strainer to catch the spices and serve immediately, while still hot. (Remove the spices if you plan to drink it gradually, since the tea will continue to get spicier the longer it steeps.)

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole Spices

Homemade Masala Chai with Whole SpicesPin it!

Related recipe posts:
> Mango Lassi Muffins with Yogurt and Cardamom
> Spiced Apple Cider Cupcakes
> Iced Mugi-cha (Roasted Barley Tea)

23 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2012 9:19 am

    This looks like the perfect treat for a chilly day! I’m still recovering from my Christmas cold and have been drinking lots of tea :)

    • December 27, 2012 9:23 am

      Oh no! I was feeling very lucky to have avoided a Christmas (post-airplane) cold… right up until I came down with the stomach flu. It’s rough to be sick this time of year– hope you feel better soon!

  2. December 27, 2012 11:02 am

    Ooh, I can almost smell it! Gorgeous.

    I made this before and added bourbon. It was wonderful.

    • December 27, 2012 12:31 pm

      Oo, yum. What an excellent use for bourbon. :) That does sound wonderful!

  3. December 27, 2012 1:13 pm

    MMMM!! Wonderful idea. I can’t wait to try it.

  4. December 27, 2012 7:53 pm

    Mmmm! I could’ve used a cup of your masala chai tea today. We got another 30 cm of snow today!

    • December 31, 2012 8:21 am

      Oo, lucky! (Or unlucky, if you had to shovel…) Hope you get a chance to make yourself a cup of masala chai soon!

  5. December 28, 2012 8:25 am

    I love masala Chai..the smell alone can left your spirit

    • December 31, 2012 8:22 am

      I agree! It’s probably my favorite hot drink– and that includes coffee… I’m addicted to coffee and drink it every day, but I should really make myself masala chai even more often!

  6. December 28, 2012 12:39 pm

    wonderful, comforting drink, hope it helped to recuperate : ) glad you made it home and this chai is delicious – wishing you a wonderful new year!

    • December 31, 2012 8:23 am

      Thanks, Ozlem! Wishing you a wonderful new year, too!

  7. December 28, 2012 12:46 pm

    I haaate tea but I do enjoy chai for whatever reason. What is the stuff that looks like bark?

    • December 31, 2012 8:24 am

      Do you hate tea because of its caffeine? (Or just– as I used to– because you feel it has no flavor…?) Just curious! :)

      The stuff that looks like bark is broken up cinnamon sticks! (They’re not all so smooth.)

  8. December 30, 2012 1:02 pm

    I will definitely be using this recipe! Chai tea is my absolute favourite, it will be great to be able to rustle it up myself :)

    • December 31, 2012 8:25 am

      Wonderful, I’m glad to hear it! It’s my favorite too, and making it this way is so much better than any of those powdered mixes (or tea bags with too much caffeine for me)… Hope you get a chance to try the recipe soon! :)

  9. January 1, 2013 9:46 am

    Masala chai, one of our favorite.perfect for a lazy winter morning…but prefer using good strong tea.

    • January 2, 2013 5:24 pm

      Yep, it’s also good with strong black tea– I was just very happy recently to remember that I could still make it without, and that way (since I’m super sensitive to caffeine sometimes) I can drink it in the late afternoons/evenings, too!

  10. January 3, 2013 2:22 pm

    I finally found a grand & verry tasty recipe here for home-made masala chai tea! I love every step of it! A huge thanks! :) MMMMMM!

    • January 4, 2013 9:00 am

      Yay, you’re welcome! You should definitely give it a try soon. :)

  11. February 14, 2013 9:28 am

    I will have to try this recipe. My husband loves chai and I will have to surprise him one night with this.

    • February 14, 2013 9:37 am

      Please do! :) And if you already have most/all of the spices on hand, then it’s truly simple to make; your comment reminded me that I should definitely simmer up some homemade chai again sometime soon.


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