Mamta's Kitchen

Indian Tea-Masala Chai 1, With Ginger, Basil and Cardamom (Ginger Tea)

Masala Chaai 1; Adrak, Illaichi, Tulsi Chai

Mamta Gupta

Chaai is said to be better than coffee after a meal, because of it helps with digestion. A traditional Indian tea containing ginger, cardamoms, basil (tulsi) leaves, black peppers etc. has medicinal properties, and is especially good for cold and sore throat. All the ingredients additional to tea leaves are ingredients used in many other Indian home remedies. It can be served with or without milk. Serves 6


  • 5 cups water

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1-2 inch root ginger, peeled and grated (powdered ginger can be used but it is not as good as fresh)

  • 6-7 green cardamoms, crushed in a mortar

  • 10 Indian basil/tulsi leaves, crushed or bruised

  • Optional: 1/4 tsp. black pepper powder

  • Black, loose tea leaves (amount depends on how strong you like your tea-you can use tea bags)

  • Lemon instead of milk


  1. Boil water in a pan with grated ginger, green cardamoms, black pepper & tulsi leaves. Allow to boil for a few minutes to infuse the water with the flavours and extracts of the ingredients.

  2. Add milk and allow to come to boil again.

  3. Add tea leaves or tea bags, turn heat off, cover and leave for a few minutes to infuse tea. Strain into a tea pot or directly into mugs.

  4. Serve piping hot, with or without honey as a sweetener.


  • Also see Basil Tea, Cardamom Tea, Spiced tea and Tea Spice Mix.

  • Basil or tulsi has been mentioned in Indian texts from as early as the Vedic period and is often worshipped as a plant representing Goddess Tulsi. The essential oil from Basil is antibacterial, it is used as a nerve tonic and as an antidote to depression. It is also an anti-inflammatory to the respiratory tract, therefore, basil tea is commonly used in India to relive symptoms of cold, sore throat and cough.

  • Black Pepper or Kali Mirch is one of the strongest of spices, it has stimulant, carminative, aphrodisiac, diuretic and digestive properties. Powdered pepper is used in asthma, fever, cough syrups (honey and black pepper mix), dysentery, and to treat flatulence.

  • Green Cardamom or Choti Illaichi/Elaichi, Elettaria cardamomum, is sometimes referred to as Queen of spices. It is good for treating nausea, heart burn and stomach upsets. That is why cardamoms are often chewed by Indians after meals. Cardamoms also refresh the mouth and breath.

  • Ginger or Adrak is a carminative, anti-flatulent, expectorant and anti-rheumatic agent.

  • Most Gujrati-Indian shops sell chaai masala (tea spice mix), but that may be too hot for you as it often has a lot of black pepper.

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