Masala Chai is a delicious alternative to regular tea and its spicy aroma can be particularly comforting when the weather starts to cool. I have adapted this recipe from one given to me by a friend, adding vanilla and chilli to the mix. Please note, this isn’t a chai syrup, it’s a concentrated spicy tea.


  • 2½ L water
  • 2 knobs of ginger skin on, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods crushed
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • pinch fresh nutmeg grated
  • ⅛ tsp vanilla powder substitute with vanilla pod or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 4 tsp black tea substitute four tea bags
  • ⅓ cup soft brown sugar


  1. 1 Place all ingredients except the chilli, tea and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. 2 After 30 minutes, add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for five to 10 more minutes, depending on how spicy and strong you want it.
  3. 3 Drain the mixture through a sieve and store in a glass bottle. To prepare a milky chai drink, mix one part of this masala chai with one part milk and warm on the stove or in a microwave. Add extra sugar if desired.