Roadside chai recipe


All indians have a soft spot for masala chai, the sweet and spicy tea which is soothing and spirit-lifting in equal measures.

Although I love my mum’s chai, some of the best stuff i’ve ever had has been from some roadside stalls in India (many with dubious hygiene credentials.) The reason being that these chai-wallahs do one thing and they do it well – they’ve perfected their game by serving up hundreds of cups, dawn to dusk, every single day.


Vishal, a chai-wallah of Calcutta gave me his secret recipe:

Roadside chai recipe

For two cups:

2 heaped teaspoons of black tea
5 cardamom pods, whole but smashed up a bit
2 ground cloves
1 inch ginger
1 cup whole milk (use a mug as a measure)
2-3 tsp sugar
1 cup of water

In a small saucepan, boil the water then add the cloves, ginger and tea. After a minute add the milk, sugar and cardamom and boil until the milk frothes. Strain and serve.

2 thoughts on “Roadside chai recipe

  1. Can’t wait to try this! – but do you mean ground cloves as in powered cloves or the whole cloves? x

  2. Thank you for the “1 cup (use a mug as a measure)” part! I’m trying to make the “perfect masala chai” recipe in your wonderful “Made In India” book, which includes precise measurements for everything except water and milk, which are in the unspecified unit of “mugs.” Can I assume that a “mug” in that recipe is equal to one cup?

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