It originates from South Asia and consists of black tea, water, milk, spices and a sweetener.
A Japanese variation uses houjicha instead, hence the term houjichai.
I’ll show you how mine worked out, it’s the first time that I try making one!
- Houjicha leaves, 8gr
- Cardamom, 2 pods (crushed)
- Cloves, 2 (crushed)
- Ginger, 1 tsp (ground)
- Cinnamon, 1 stick
- Sweetener, to taste
- water, 3/4 cup
- milk, 1/4 cup
Recipes for masala chai vary, so feel free to experiment with other ingredients such as pepper, nutmeg and star anise.
Regarding the milk to water ratio, I tried both 1/2 water and 3/4 water and felt that more water was better for my taste.
Making a cup of houjichai
The most important thing to keep in mind is that houjicha’s flavor isn’t as strong as that of black tea. It’s better to have too much leaves than too few.
I used a mortar to crush the cardamom and the cloves. For the cinammon stick, I just tore it into smaller pieces.
Keep boiling for 3 minutes, that way all the flavors are extracted into the water. Then just add the milk and stir.
Finally, all you have to do is filter through a sieve and serve it.
I’m not an expert on masala chai, but I think that this recipe worked well. I could feel the spiciness of ginger balancing out with all the other flavors.
Normally I prefer unsweetened drinks, but in this case I added a little sugar. Next time I’ll try using honey instead.
You’ll find that making a houjichai is very easy. All you need are the ingredients, and then you’re good to go.