Let's Talk Comfort Food: Masala Chai

The traditional season of comfort food has begun. Along with it, we are searching for easy, tasty and aromatic delights.

One of our favorites: Masala Chai

Chai is the Hindi word for tea. Masala is the word for spice (in this case, aromatic spice). In the past ten years or so, chai has become more and more popular. Originating in India, this beverage has gained worldwide attention. While many of us might see this as a cup of tea to start the day, chai is an integral part of life in India. Chai wallahs (makers of chai), make and serve chai created from an assortment of spices, milk and usually sugar. You can purchase a glass (yes, glass!) on the street. Each chai wallah has his or her own special masala.


Recipe: Chai Tea (4 servings)

This spicy, milky and sweet blend is perfect for a fall or winter day.

A couple of notes: We have included many spices – but only a few are ‘required’. You can make decisions based on what you like and what is in your spice drawer.

This recipe can be stored in the fridge for a few days – or served to a group of guests all at once.


  • Cinnamon stick broken into pieces
  • Fresh Ginger – 2-3 slices
  • 6-8 whole cloves
  • 4-6 cardamom pods
  • 1-2 star anise (optional) I love how these taste and look!
  • 6 whole peppercorns (optional)
  • 2-3 whole allspice (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 black tea bags (2 teaspoons loose tea)
  • 2 cups milk (whole is delicious – but any kind will work including almond or oat milk)
  • 3 tsp UC Davis Coriander honey


To make all four servings: Bring all the spices and water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the tea and simmer for another 5 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer. Stir in the honey and the milk. Serve with a star anise on top (because it is so pretty!) and a wonderful homemade cookie on the side.

Want to save it for another time? Add the honey to the tea and store it in your refrigerator for up to a week.

To make a single serving: Take a half cup of the tea mixture, add warmed milk and serve. Don’t forget the cookie!

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