Thursday, June 12, 2014

Iced Masala Chai

Iced Masala Chai 1
Oh summer! How much I longed for you. How I wished and prayed for you to come visit. How I hoped for the sun to shine upon me and how I craved to put away my coats and gloves and pull out my bags of shorts, carefully hidden in the back of my closet. I had all these plans to bathe in your sunshine and had dreamt of not leaving my backyard for days. And then you came with all your glory. Oh, you came with all you glory! And now I wanna run away from you and hide in the bottom of a pool or glue myself to the air conditioning that my house doesn't have (lucky me!).
Iced Tea
All this was still alright as you were much awaited until you snatched the cup of my hot masala tea I relished every evening with a slice of banana cardamom cake. That made things a little cruel, I have to say. Not many have the capacity of taking that cup of evening chai away from me but to savor a cup of anything steaming hot on this hot, hot summer is close to torture. But to completely stay away from the warmth of masala mixed in a creamy cup of chai is impossible too. So I had to improvise. I used the same spices, boiled it with my favorite tea but instead poured it in a bottle and chilled it in my refrigerator and fooled the summer!

Mint and Lemon

Chai Masala

Typically Indian homes use a pre-made chai masala powder, where every family has their own set of favorite spices. Dried ginger, cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom, fennel, star anise are typically used to make this masala. These spices ground together in a ratio based on taste preference. Just a few pinches on chai masala in the end mixed to chai before straining into mugs makes all the difference.

Iced Tea with Milk
For this Iced tea I used whole spices though because I wanted a mild flavor of spices and also because I had run out of my stock of chai masala in my pantry. I also picked the spices I believed will suit my family's palette. Feel free to add or take out the spices of your choice. You can add extra flavor to the chai by adding milk, fresh herbs or citrus of choice. I like my iced tea with a few teaspoons of coconut milk, Abhishek likes his with mint leaves mulled with lemon juice. You can use this concentrate to make hot tea also. Just mix it with some hot milk and serve with biscuits on the side. So basically feel free to use your imagination and play around with all sorts of flavor combinations but beware, iced or hot call it Masala Chai only!

Iced Masala Chai
5 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
2 inches fresh ginger root (sliced or coarsely chopped)
10 green cardamom (smashed)
8-10 cloves (whole)
4-5 tablespoon brown sugar (can substitute with a choice of sweetener like honey, agave, coconut palm sugar)
6-7 Tetley Black & Green tea bags
Additional flavors that I tried and tasted great with the tea-
A few teaspoons milk. Coconut and soy are my personal favorite. You can use a milk of your choice.
A few crushed mint leaves.
A squirt or a couple slices of lemon.

In a medium sized saucepan bring water to a rolling boil.
Add the spices, sugar and tea bags. Turn the heat off. Let it steep for 15 minutes. Longer if you prefer a stronger taste of spices.
Strain hot tea through a strainer. Let it cool a little and then transfer to a flask or pitcher.
Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
To serve, fill a glass with ice. Pour the tea. Add milk or lemon juice and mint or enjoy as it is on a hot summer day!


  1. That looks delicious! Wish I had a tall glass of that right now. :)

  2. That tea looks spectacular! Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  3. Refreshing and exquisite!



  4. I wish I could sip it up across the screen right now... it's 40degree Dubai temperature right now and the Ice Masala Tea looks so refreshingly cool. The picture where the milk is being poured is spectacular.

  5. I just needed a good Masala Chai recipe, this summer version is wonderfull!
    thanks & ciao

  6. Just the right spice mix! Looking forward to try it!

    1. Let me know how you like it Eva!

  7. Sounds super! Just the kind of drink that will work in the sweltering climes of the middle east. The photos are lovely.

  8. This looks like a lovely recipe and your photographs are beautiful. I love masala chai and, like you, miss it terribly during Delhi summer mornings, where the temperature is touching 50 C!

    I always scoffed at the "Iced Chai Latte" gimmick in coffee shops - maintaining that there is no such thing, but this post makes me want to change my mind. Although, I would much rather make it at home than buy it at a Starbucks or a Costa.

    I have a question though - when I make iced tea at home, I prefer to make it with less water to get a strong concentrate and cool it down immediately using lots of ice and iced water because I always thought that cooling it down slowly makes it a bit bitter. Do you feel that way or has the slow cooling down at room temperature, and then the refrigerator worked out well?

    1. Praerna, I only let the spices and tea bags stay in the water for 15-20 minutes and then I discard them or save for later. I didn't notice any bitterness in my tea after discarding the contents and leaving the tea to cool on its own. Do you let the tea bags stay in the concentrate while it cools?

    2. No, strangely I don't. I always discard them once the tea has reached the strength I like. So I just work with the strong concentrate and pour it over ice as soon as it has reached the desired strength. That works well enough. But I love the idea of your version with milk -- have never tried that. Will do it this weekend.

      PS - I forgot to say "Hello, namesake!"

  9. I made this a few days ago, and it's wonderful! So refreshing and full of flavor!

  10. I love this recipe. I love tea too. This is a very good substitute for tea in the summers.

  11. Iced tea+masala+chennai heat=perfection.

    Just have to convince my coffee drinking parents.

  12. Wow! An iced version of masala chai sounds perfect. Lovely pics too!!
    - Anjana.

  13. Your post is not only informative but interesting too.

  14. Ices masala tea is my favourite. Jo me her roj peeta hun. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  15. Love this. Can't wait to try it at home. Thank you!

  16. I forever scoffed at the "Iced Chai Latte" gimmick in low retailers - maintaining that there's no such factor, however this post makes ME need to vary my mind

  17. Looks wonderful. Never thought of making Iced Chai. Love your blog.. your work is so inspiring and photos are beautiful.


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