A very special request from one of our readers inspired me to write a masala powder recipe for chai. What is masala in chai? A direct translation would be “ground spices”, but masala as I would like to say it is “the life of chai”. Without the masalas, we cannot call it a masala chai, it would just be a black milk tea. But with masala, well that’s where all the magic begins! And I mean it, when we start taking all these herbs out of our racks and blending them together, you will know what I am saying. 😉
It’s also got a convenience factor! Instead of taking every spice out of your rack and grounding it, and making the masala from scratch, this is an easier and quicker way to get your cup of masala chai. I would recommend making small batches, as the freshness of herbs decreases with time, and storing it in an air-tight container to preserve the aroma and fresh flavors.
This actually gives me an opportunity to share more about the spices and their characteristics. It’s good to understand their health benefits and how we can switch it up based on the weather – the idea is to create a balance with our herbs.
Properties of Spices
Cardamom is a fragrant herb that not only tastes and smells amazing but also has a lot of detoxing values with its diuretic properties. It is also known as a good stress reliever and elevates a person’s mood, hence some people also call it an antidepressant.
Ginger has warming properties so it’s amazing to consume in winter! It has anti-oxidants and anti-inflammation properties that make it superb for digestion.
Cloves are best known as a sweet and aromatic spice that has health-beneficial nutrients like magnesium and vitamin k. They also help strengthen bones, kill bacteria and regulate blood sugar.
Black pepper is known as pippali in Sanskrit which translates to “black gold”, due to its history as the most sought out spice. Thanks to piperine in black pepper for the pungent taste as well as its health-boosting qualities. It is good for the immune system and helps improve digestion.
For a small jar of masala chai powder:
30 buds of Cardamom
5 buds of Clove
1/2 a stick of Cinnamon
1/4 of a Whole Nutmeg
1 tsp of Fennel Seeds
2 buds of Star Anise
1-2 tsp of Ginger Powder (optional: I prefer adding fresh ginger directly to my chai)
- Warm up a pan to low heat.
- Let’s start with adding cardamom to our pan first.
- Next, add in cloves, whole black peppers, cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, and nutmeg.
- Stir around and keep for 1-2 minutes. Toasting all the spices in the pan awakens their flavor. This simple step is important and mind the heat so you don’t burn the spices.
- Once done, bring the spices out of the hot pan and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Add it to a spice grinder and grind it to your liking, I prefer to keep my spices coarse as I feel that they can breathe better that way, but it’s really up to you.
- If you are choosing to add in some ginger powder, this is the time to add it in to your mixture. Since it is a powder, you don’t need to roast it.
Yay, that’s it! Your masala powder is ready to be added to your chai. It tastes so delicious when I made it home, and the masala chai-making process became so quick. It went from a 10-step process to a 4-step process. Literally, with 1 tsp of this masala powder, I just had to add milk, sugar, fresh ginger (since I didn’t add ginger powder), and black tea. After bringing it to a boil, it’s all done and ready to enjoy!
If you want to know how to make masala chai from scratch, you can find it here. Enjoy all the warm spices and good things in life and let us know in the comments how you liked it.
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