Masala chai (Photo: Emma Boyd)
Masala chai (Photo: Emma Boyd)

FoodJune 26, 2022

Recipe: Masala chai

Masala chai (Photo: Emma Boyd)
Masala chai (Photo: Emma Boyd)

A warming, spicy cuppa for a winter’s evening.

It’s always such a joy watching my kids in the kitchen – I’m amazed at how easily they absorb what they see and then instinctively put it all into practice. I have a wonderful video of my daughter at age not-quite-two skilfully chopping beetroot with my very large chef’s knife! This week, after I served this beautifully warming spiced chai to my children, my eldest boy (nine) polished off his share then headed straight to the pantry to recreate the recipe himself.

My take on masala chai is of course inspired by India’s rich and complex chai tradition, where recipes vary from region to region and family to family. I hope you like my version as much as we all do – it’s perfect for these grey, wet winter evenings.


Serves 2

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into two
  • 7 cloves
  • 7 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon black tea leaves (or 2 tea bags)
  • 1¼ cups milk

Put the water, spices and honey into a saucepan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, put the lid on the saucepan and simmer gently for 10 minutes. 

Add the tea to the saucepan and leave to steep for 5 minutes. Strain the tea leaves and spices from the liquid, return the liquid to the pot, add the milk and heat until just boiling. 

Remove from the heat, divide between two cups and sprinkle with ground cinnamon before serving if desired. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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