Ever found yourself in a cafe line where the person in front of you orders a “chai tea latte” with extra this and extra that … and you cringe. Then you hear the attendant ask … “Is that with or without whipped cream?” … your stomach churns.

You long for that desi chaitaaza chaiasli chai. Accompanied by some crisp pakodas or other namkeen. Heaven. Here is our little twist. Chai with green chilli.


For 2 mugs tea
(one mug is about 1.5 cups)

Water 1.5 mug
Milk 0.5 mug
Fresh ginger – thumb size
Tea Masala (recipe below) – 3/4 tsp
Green chilli – 1/4 of a 2-inch chilli
Sugar – 2 tsp

Bring water to boil with the fresh ginger, tea masala, green chili and sugar (smash the ginger and chili before putting it in the water).

Add the tea leaves and turn off the stove within a minute (boiling tea releases tanins) and let it sit for few minutes.
Meanwhile microwave the milk for a minute to minute and half.
Add milk to tea. Strain into cup. Enjoy.

This recipe is very forgiving and of course dependent on individual preferences. So you can change the proportion of milk/water, or sugar, or tea masala…etc. However, add a little chilli and get an extra kick out of it for sure. It gives just a little hint of smokiness. If you are afraid at first, use only a very small piece of chilli.


(adapted from here.)

This is a flexible recipe. Adjust it to suit your taste.

Makes about 3 tablespoons

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
**we used seeds from 2 black cardamoms and about 15 green cardamoms
4 cloves
1/2 tea spoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ajwain (bishop’s weed)
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
small (1 inch) piece of cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

There is no need to roast the spices. Pound them in a mortar and pestle, or blend them to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
Crush the cinnamon stick into bits before adding it to the spice grinder.


We drink tea because we like it. It has about half the caffeine of coffee, and is an invigorating drink.

We see an increasing number of dietary supplements in the market with green tea extracts touting their antioxidants properties. Elsewhere, we have read that tea wards off heart disease, cancer and obesity.

How true are these claims? We turn (again) to Nutrition Action HealthLetter brought out by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Nutrition Action‘s annual subscription fee is the best ten dollars we’ve spent. No, they did not bribe us to say this. They, and the not-for-profit parent organisation CSPI, deserve as much support and publicity as they can get for their tireless health-advocacy and for taking food companies and state agencies who lie to consumers to task and to court.

Here’s a summary of what Nutrition Action (March 2007 issue) had to say about tea’s health benefits (full text here).

Freshly brewed green and black teas have 10 to 100 times more antioxidants than cold bottled teas, that are more akin to diluted sugar water. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an 8-ounce cup of cold bottled green tea has 9 mg, and bottled black tea has 1 mg of the antioxidant EGCG.
Freshly brewed green tea has 196 milligrams per cup, oolong has 85 mg and black has 27 mg.

Some companies have asked the Food and Drug Administration for permission to claim on labels that green tea could lower the risk of heart disease. The FDA rejected the petition after finding insufficient evidence to back the claim.

So how does Celestial Seasonings go around making this claim?

Simple. Make it look like another government agency is endorsing your claim.

“Partner” with the renowned National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) on its “The Heart Truth” campaign. Put up your dollars, then proclaim publicly what the FDA would never let you say.

Issue a press release about how your “Partnership Highlights Benefits of Tea Consumption in Helping Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.”

In it, say that “drinking more tea can help promote heart health.” Then let the NHLBI post the release on its Web site.

Is NHLBI okay with this? Apparently. The agency’s communications director Terry Long says: consumers won’t assume that the company’s claims have been approved by the institute.

There have been a lot of claims in the past decade about tea’s cancer-fighting abilities. In studies on aninmals given carcinogens, researchers found that tea extrats reduce the number of tumours in the breast, colon, prostate, pancreas, skin, lung, esophagus and small intestine.
However, at the comparable concentrations of tea found in human tissues, it was found that people who drink five or more cups a day do not have a lower cancer risk.

The claim that tea helps weight loss. In the short term, EGCG plus caffeine does aid weight loss. In the long term, however, there is no consistent impact.

Coke and Nestle claimed that their drink Enviga had ‘negative calories’, and that it is a ‘calorie burner’. Center for Science in the Public Interest had their team of scientists review the claims made by Enviga and responded by saying the product is a “highly caffeinated and over-priced diet soda, and is exactly the kind of faddy, phony diet aid it claims not to be.” (More at SlashFood)

- Jai

Masala Chai is as refreshing and fiesty as our dear Trupti, who is the hostess for this month’s Weekend Breakfast Blogging #12 at The Spice Who Loved Me.

This month’s theme is ‘Spice it Up’. The event is the brainchild of Nandita of Saffron Trail.

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  1. Altoid says:

    Whoa, who would’ve thunk!! Chilli in chai! NOW I’ve seen everything :) .

    Gotta give this a try sometime.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Coffee says:

    GULP!!!!! I have never tasted tea till now…. and your version with chilli, is blowing out smoke from my ears!!! ;)

    I would love some coffee in that same mug though! ;)

  3. roopa says:

    voila of all chilli in chai! loved the cup so no need of namkeen. i love masala chai make it once a while esp when its raining!

  4. TheCooker says:

    Didn’t go past the mug for the longest time!
    mirchi w/ tea is good. Mirchi w/ brownies is better.
    tikhat brownies dunked in tikhat tea in that mug! Ah!!

  5. Reena says:

    beens would be happy to see this post. she had asked me to blog masala chai long time back :)

    that mug is tempting ;)

  6. Swapna says:

    I have never tasted chai with chilli..Will def give it a shot now..Lovely mug..

  7. Priya says:

    Only last weekend I took the bold step of trying out a Mexican Hot Chocolate, its hot chocolate with chilli powder in it..loved it..and now you have shown me the very same path with tea….Alas ! it is night now and I have to wait until tomorrow :)

  8. Archana says:

    how cute is that MUG!! :) I hate it when I hear CHAI TEA LATTE please as well. So annoying!

    Interesting tea! You guys should get a his and her of that jean mug!

  9. Anjali says:

    Chili in chai :D ! Jai where did you have it first we would like to hear the story of this creation. You guys are hilarious sometimes….

    didn’t hear about it anywhere. a jugalbandi production you might say !


  10. Manisha says:

    Finally someone who says do not boil tea leaves or almost! Brew it. Always better!

    Chai tea has always annoyed me. I don’t wait to hear the rest!

    I love to have tea with my meals but I was told that it’s not a good idea to have black tea with meals as it prevents absorption of essential nutrients. The KP will come around soon to add to this, I am sure. ;-)

    What about white tea? I enjoy the flavor but the organic white tea I bought is just OK. A few drops of your agave nectar enhances its taste. The white teas at the local tea houses are, however, simBly wonderful. White tea is supposed to have even more anti-oxidants than green tea and is supposed to be ‘alkaline’ and therefore helps combat cancer. I worked closely over a long distance with someone for a short while who claims he was cured of cancer because he ate alkaline foods. He got into white tea through that alkaline route and has patented his own blend which he will start packaging and selling soon. Or so he says. Tea in a teabag, whether white, green or black, is awful. My white tea is also in teabags. :-(

    Love love love the mug!

    we have white tea (bags), but we like our tea strong, and it just doesn’t get as strong as the black. – b.

  11. Suganya says:

    Thats chai with a ‘kick’. But chilli powder would taste raw, I suppose. Thats a lovely mug too.

  12. madhuli says:

    Hey you two brilliant brains that’s cool mug!Chilli Chai..hmm.. have to try this.thanks.

  13. Meeta says:

    Bee/Jai, I would say great minds think alike – LOL! I just finished doing a photo shoot for my own version of masala chai hehehe! Your version with chili is definitely HOT and Spicy!

  14. Reena says:

    Jai-Bee, We have a friend here from Bihar who taught us adding Green chilli in chai. :)

  15. viji says:

    Nice spicy chai. Interesting too. Viji

  16. Priya says:

    Could not stop myself from trying it ASAP. Absolutely love it, will be more adventurous next time with the amt of chilli though :)
    Here’s my cup

    you’re nuts. really. :-) – b.

  17. shammi says:

    I think my husband thinks I’m nuts:) But I LURVED this chai! I hate plain tea… if I drink tea at all, it’s proper masala chai!

  18. Rachna says:

    I LUUUUV THAT CUP…. AWSOME… and the chai too, cant live without my chai… try a pinch of salt your chilli chai :) am sure you’ll like it …

  19. sia says:

    tea n me? nah… i can’t stand its smell…
    but i do love that cup… very cute :)
    by the way…whenever i hear chai it reminds me of salman khan dancing (topless ofcourse) to that stupid song of anu malik’s… and ur mug almost looks like his half jeans too ;)
    ek garam chai ki pyaali ho..
    koi usko pilane wali ho…
    chahe gori ho ya kaali ko…
    blah blah blah…

  20. trupti says:

    I really liked that idea of adding a chili in the chai…….must try it! thanks for your lovely entry…..and where did you get that totally awesome mug?? :)


    the mug … a long time ago in sunny california. – b.

  21. indosungod says:

    Don’t drink tea but with chilli! I’ll offer some for DH who loves tea. The mug looks super cool!

  22. Chandrika says:

    Wow! Tea with chilli… that’s super cool! :-)

  23. Asha says:

    Chai-Tea and Taxi-Cab! American Oxymorons!!;D
    Love tea,Masala chai particularly but can’t stand peppers in it,hits my throat and makes me gag!:(
    Five pocket Jeans wearing mug!! Kewl!!!!:D

  24. archana says:

    This chai sounds interesting. Have you tried putting tej patta in your chai? I have :)
    People in Assam put fresh green tej patta ( bay leaves)in their chai while brewing it.
    The mug is awesome. Sia I liked what you said about Salman and the Mug :)

  25. pelicano says:

    Green chile with chai is a great idea; I hear chiles speed up metabolism. Either way, that warm “hum” underneath the spicing is fantabulous idea, and I much enjoyed the info that followed the recipe- it’s too bad that some of those drink companies don’t have the health of consumers as a primary interest.

  26. sandeepa says:

    Chilli in Chai — reall ? No tadka for sure ?

    the mustard. of course. next time we’ll try bengali chai with mustard. – b.

  27. Anita says:

    Arre, you should read the comment someone left on my blog about how drinking tea with milk was a bad thing…(don’t know how to leave links for comments – but it is
    on this page
    )- I had to say,let me have my cup anyway because these ‘researchers’ always go back on what they have already, and I would have been drinking black for no reason.

    Yes, drinking black teas (type of tea, not about milk) with food interferes with the absorption of iron. But green and white teas are fine. Besides, who cares, you can always have some extra iron later! :)

    Now, chilli in my chai? Why not – not as if I have never put black pepper in it!

    i drank only black tea with lemon and honey, until j started plying me with masala chai. it’s a wicked thing. – b.

  28. Priya says:

    that cup looks cool !!! how do u clean it ? looks like cloth ..i know it isn’t ..

    so was it bee or jai humming a salman khan song in 1 of the comments above :) will be surprised if it was bee ;) so u too looooooove salman ..its ok ..u can admit it..

    clean? we don’t clean. it is a waste of water, detergent and time. sallu? priya, don’t get me started on that moron. – b.

  29. Mishmash! says:

    Wondering what I can offer you to get that tea mug !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    two tickets to kuttanadu, please. – b.

  30. unbelievibly hot! and hotter in that sexy mug!

  31. Manisha says:

    Sallu? Morn? Terms of endearment, those. To him. That is the language he understands.

    he’s cute. i’ll admit that. but a moron nevertheless. – b.

  32. richa says:

    can’t do without my tea :) like spiced tea, never tried withchili though :)

  33. Anita says:

    Cute? Salman Khan? Puke. I have not been able to watch him for the entire length of any film – 5 min is more than I can take.

    movies? i can’t watch the running-around-the-trees and singing out of tune movies. period. sallu or otherwise. – b.

  34. Manisha says:

    Cute? Salman Khan? Excuse me while I vomit.

    Oh! Looks like Anita already said that. Well, this, she hasn’t said: I can’t stand guys who get their chest hair waxed.

    why so sexist? if girls can get hair everywhere waxed, why not pretty little sallu? – b.

  35. Cynthia says:

    Bee, can I buy that tea masala already mixed and packaged?

    i can send you some. if you have an indian store, they will have packaged tea masala. – b.

  36. AA says:

    Haha! In my undergrad life, I’d imagine that I had masala chai flowing through my veins instead of blood …and tried this concoction quite by accident when one day I used ginger chilli paste instead of plain ginger paste in a 4 a.m sleepless delirium…I think the addition of a sweetener (sugar perhaps) is critical to chilli chai, because it was just hot and bitter without it IMHO.

    ginger-chilli paste – i’m assuming that was a lot of chilli. a little more than a smidgen ruins the flavour. i agree. – b.

  37. mandira says:

    chilli chai.. now I know what I have been missing till now!

  38. sandeepa says:

    Don’t forget the mustard oil, just a little to a cup of chai will do you so good, I tell you

    no, i won’t. i get you in my dreams each night waving the bottle of mustard oil in front of me. – b.

  39. Manisha says:

    Everywhere, Bee? Must be painful, no?

    yeah, the brazilians like it that way. – b.

  40. Priya says:

    bee, u actually called salman CUTE !!!! r u ok?? !! i had to read it twice to make sure i got it right ..is the world going to end or something !!!! what with u complimenting sallu!!

    oh abt the waxing thing , how can u show ur muscles, 6 pack if hair covers it ..if u have got it flaunt it ..
    i’ll ignore people who puke on salman’s name ..%#%#$%#@^&%$$
    he is the one who made so many youngsters to actually go to the gym & exercise..

    bee, gasp..dont talk abt brazilian wax..

    see priya, it’s like this. sallu is an ugly idiot and anita is right, but i knew you would be outnumbered so i felt sorry for you. :-D – b.

  41. Manisha says:

    Yes, I am gasping, too!

    Now I really need that chilli chai.

  42. sharmi says:

    that mug looks so cute!! such a fantastic idea and entry for WBB. chillies in tea. got to give a second thought.
    BTW one quick request. I tried to update the AFAM in dininghall google calender and can find the previous month AFAM still . what should be done? I did update mine but cannot be seen. pls help:(

    i’ve changed it. – b.

  43. jai bee says:

    Folks, can we stay on topic here :-) [bee, manisha, priya etc.. hint hint]

    It’s Chai with Chilli if you didn’t know.


  44. Vini K says:

    ooh!chai with chilli,eh?sure will give it a nice kick:)I am glad you posted the chai masala recipe Bee..I have been wanting to drink chai with chai masala authentic gujju style, now I can have my wish!:)

  45. TheCooker says:

    Sallu is makad-chaap. waxed chest or otherwise.
    Cute?? Bee, don’t drink the mirchi tea if this is what it does to you.

    agree. i just had a drink and changed my mind about sallu. :-D – b.

  46. Soumya says:

    Good post. And reading comments was fun too ! :)
    This exotic chai reminds me of my unsuccessful attempt at being creative with chai few years back (when I was new to cooking and was trying to get the name of the dals right).

    I added cinnamon,ginger and fennel seeds. I think I added too much of all and my hubby said laughing – ” Why don’t you add coconut milk & chilli powder and I will get fried rice from a Thai retsurant , it will make a great meal “… :)

  47. Manisha says:

    Aga, TC, Marathi-tun bol. Tyala majhya peksha kami kaltha. Tyache mhana ahe ki apan chai with chilli badalach bolayche. Madhun madhun chai with chilli lihi. Tyala bara vaatail bara ka. Besides, me kahi mhanthla nahin Brazil badal. Chai with chilli milath asel tikde pan. Konhala mahith! Great recipe for chai with chilli. (asa, kalla ka?) Ata mi jatey, before I get spam-blocked for life!

  48. Priya says:

    ha ha ha @ manisha ..too funny:)

  49. bee says:

    lol, manisha. jai tula kahi kaltun ka?

    i shall employ a “malavaatla malavaatla” filter soon. –Jai

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