Masala Chai: Decoded

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Masala Chai holds a very special place in the heart of every tea lover. The aromatic flavour of tea is enhanced with the punchy essence of numerous spices like ginger, cardamom among others. A good Masala Chai is perfect to bring warmth during a cold winter or monsoon day. And while many may know to make a good cup of tea, many are still unaware of the masalas that go well or the way they should be infused. Well, we’ve got the perfect breakdown of spices for you to master the art of making good old Masala Chai.


While ginger is a common spice used for many dishes, it adds a distinct warmth to your cup of masala chai. The flavour of ginger goes all the way from the tongue to the slight tingling down the throat. Moreover, this also helps in battling cold and chest congestion and provides comfort to a blocked nose. Either grate or slice the ginger into thin slivers and add it to the pot of brewing tea before adding milk, this way the juices of the ginger will get deeply infused with the tea and the flavour would be strong enough.


Cardamom or Elaichi is another popular condiment that goes into making the perfect masala chai. This specific spice is known to add a refreshing essence that makes it a rejuvenating drink. Apart from adding to the taste, cardamom helps to prevent acidity and aids digestion.


Cinnamon when brewed with tea, brings out a sweet musky flavour in the masala chai. Cinnamon or Dalcheeni is known for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It works like a charm to combat cold. Moreover, it also adds to the body’s immunity.

Star Anise

You might have commonly seen star anise in Biryanis and other Mughlai dishes, but it also proves to be very beneficial in your masala chai. Star anise consists of compounds like thymol, anethole and terpineol which helps in curing cough and flu. It also has anti-ageing and diabetic preventive properties.

Black Pepper

A rare but essential inclusion to masala chai, black peppercorns add a spicy flavour to the sweet concoction. These tiny pods are really helpful during cold as its heat helps in eliminating cough and congestion.


Cloves in its natural state are known to be spicy which when brewed with the masala chai, brings a subtle contrast to the sweet creaminess of the tea. It helps in improving blood flow and digestion. Moreover, it is also known to kill intestinal bacteria and fungal infections. You can choose to either use whole clove tacks or stick to the powdered form.


Last, but not the least, nutmeg adds a sweet and definitive flavour to masala chai. Powdered nutmeg should be sprinkled in the very end for its flavour to be retained. Nutmeg is known to have antioxidant properties. It is also helpful in digestion. Moreover, it also helps in detoxing from toxins in the body. 

And, finally here's the perfect Masala Chai recipe for you to enjoy:

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.