The basic method of real chai maintains a 1:1 ratio of water to milk. Despite what the British might have taught you, we Indians like our tea like we like our Bollywood: spicy, brown, and riddled with song and dance. Okay, maybe not that last bit, but you get the idea. Real Indian masala chai is strong and milky, so don’t even try to substitute skim or (heaven forbid) almond milk in this recipe, it just won’t do the drink justice.

Real Masala Chai Tea

  • Prep Time:3 minutes
  • Cook Time:5 minutes
  • Total Time:8 minutes
  • Servings:1
  • Medium


  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black tea leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Photo by Preet Bhaidaswala
  • Step 1

    Bring the water, cardamom, ginger, tea leaves, and mint to a boil. This is the heart of the chai, don’t be afraid to really let the spices infuse (about 2 minutes).

    Photo by Preet Bhaidaswala
  • Step 2

    Add the milk and let boil for another two minutes. You can add sugar (or sweetener of choice) to taste at this point.

    Photo by Preet Bhaidaswala
  • Step 3

    Let the chai rise up until just before it bubbles over the edge of the pot. Right before it looks like it will spill, take the tea off the heat and stir it a bit. Repeat this step until the chai is your desired strength and color.

    Photo by Preet Bhaidaswala
  • Step 4

    Strain the chai into a mug. Now just grab a book and a few butter cookies, and you are ready to take on whatever this winter throws at you.

    Photo by Preet Bhaidaswala