There are as many chai masala recipes as there are chai wallahs in India and, that’s a lot.  Our recipe reflects our favourite South Indian spices.

There’s the cleansing note of cardamom followed by the sparks of heat from ginger, cloves, and pepper. Underneath these high notes are the warming tones of cinnamon, nutmeg, and fennel. 

If you have all the spices, this recipe comes together easily. You’ll need a spice grinder to grind the spices but once you have a jar of this masala in your cupboard, you can enjoy fresh chai within minutes.

South Indian Chai Masala Recipe

7 Tablespoons - enough for 70 cups of tea


For the Masala:
¼ cup cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For Chai Tea:
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon Chai Masala
4 tea bags (black or rooibus if you desire a decaf version)
3 cups milk
Sugar or jaggery to taste


For the Masala:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Break the cinnamon sticks into small pieces and roast them along with the cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorns and fennel seeds on a baking sheet in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the roasted spices from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Places the spices in a spice grinder and process to a fine powder.
  5. Stir in the ginger and nutmeg and mix well.
  6. Store away from the light in an airtight glass container or continue to make Chai Tea.

For the Chai Tea:

  1. Bring the water to boil and add the chai masala and tea bags for another 5 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and sugar to taste and boil for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Strain and serve hot.
  4. Enjoy with banana fritters or other teatime snacks.


Thank you for trying this recipe.

2 comments on “South Indian Chai Masala

    1. Hello Shanti,
      In all our travels throughout India, the chai varies a lot from place to place. Some Chai wallahs use ginger, some pepper, lots add cardamom. In North INdia they may use leaves from Assam or Darjeeling. In the south it is tea from the Nilgiri hills. Sometimes, in the South, they even use water buffalo milk to make it extra rich and creamy. We love it all!
      What’s your favourite?
      Karen and Paul-Ann

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