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Sana's Kadak Spicy Chai

Recipe by: Sana Javeri Kadri


Makes: 2 small cups

Sana's Kadak Spicy Chai
Photo by:  

Sana Javeri Kadri

Adapted from Dishoom's Masala Chai. Both Dishoom's version and my own are love letters to Bombay's cutting chai - best drunk at a street side stall and freshly boiled. For my at-home drinking needs, this oat milk rendition is pretty damn close to that memory. I've tried this with ground spices, I've tried it with different quantities of whole spices, I've tried it every which way and this is how I like it best. Keeping the spices whole and giving them time to boil down and flavor the chai produces a stiff cup that isn't too overpowering. 

Psst, looking for an even quicker cup of masala chai? Try our house blend—it's powdered, mixed and ready to use! Click here for instructions on how to brew the perfect cup.

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  • 12 thin slices fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground Makhir Ginger
  • 1 tsp Aranya Pepper
  • 12 pods Baraka Cardamom (or more if you're using old/stale cardamom!)
  • 1 large cinnamon stick (broken into pieces) or 1/2 teaspoon ground Peni Miris Cinnamon
  • 4-5 small Kandyan Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp jaggery (or date syrup, or palm sugar - you want a less processed more caramelly sugar for that full bodied sweetness) 
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup oat milk (ee my note at the bottom of this recipe if you're using dairy milk instead) 
  • 1-3 black tea bags (I use 0-1 because I'm sensitive to caffeine but you do you!) 



  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and the slices of ginger (note - if you're using cow's milk here, don't add the ginger just yet, it'll cause the milk the curdle!) to a boil. 
  2. Whilst the water is coming to a boil, measure out your spices into a small bowl.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add spices and 1tsp sweetener and lower to a simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir to combine if you're worried about the sweetener burning on the bottom. Your saucepan should smell divine right now.  
  4. Add milk (room temp. if non-dairy, see note below if dairy!) and bring back to a boil. Now you're just bringing to a boil and simmering and bringing back to a boil (imagine a sine curve) until you've got a texture that you're happy with. Hell, you might be happy with it right away? I like a thicker, spicier chai - so I simmer and boil around three times - maybe 7-8 minutes total. 
  5. If you like a more caffeinated chai - add your tea bags with the milk and let the tea boil with everything - this will get a little bitter but many folks crave that flavor! If you're like me and like a low caffeine chai, lower your heat and add the tea bag(s) for a minute right before you're ready to take it off heat. 
  6. Strain using a fine mesh strainer and enjoy! I pour it into a saucer and sip like a cat because that's what my Nani taught me. 
  7. The chai also keeps well in the fridge for a couple days and tastes great over ice, especially if you boil it down a bit more  on step 4 to account for the ice diluting it! 

Note on Dairy: 

My recipe works best for non-dairy milk. When fresh ginger is mixed with cow's milk at below 70 degrees celsius, the protease in the ginger causes the milk to curdle. So if you're using cow's milk - bring the milk to a boil in a separate saucepan and add it to the chai only once it's boiling hot. This will prevent the milk from curdling!