Kenyan-Style Chai Masala: how to welcome an honored guest

Welcome to my first instructional cooking video!  
Advice and pro tips? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below! 

Hodi hodi marafiki zangu, hello dear friends!

I am blessed to have two beautiful Kenyan women as neighbors, one across the street and another down the road. We all share children, dinners, stories with each other and combine our cultures and tribal knowledge. My African sisters taught me that every welcoming and gracious home in Kenya has a pot of hot chai masala on the stove, ready to serve an honored guest at the drop of a Masai headdress. I posted about this hospitable tradition on my Instagram account and it got a lot of feedback there and on Facebook – it’s hard to say what my muzungu friends were more excited about: the recipe for chai masala, or the thought of dropping in on friends, unexpected!


There are 1,001 ways to make chai masala, and they are all right. There are millions of different spice blends, milks and creams and bases, and every one is unique and delicious!

Kenyan-Style Chai Masala

Watch the instructional video, and read and download the recipe below!

Download recipe PDF here

Chai spices*
Loose or bagged black tea, about 3 teaspoons per half-gallon
Milk**, water, cream or a combination of any of these
Honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, sucanat or another sweetener to taste

The goal is to heat the liquid, and get the tea and spices to soak in this liquid for about ten minutes, and sweeten the tea. You can do this many different ways.

Method 1: Fill the pot with liquid. Sprinkle in tea and spices – you’ll find that preferences vary, but I like a few teaspoons’ amount of each.  Turn to medium heat and slowly warm for about ten to fifteen minutes, to just below simmering. Strain out spices and tea leaves; add sweetener and whisk briskly. Serve hot or cold!

Method 2: Fill the pot with liquid. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat; sprinkle in spices and tea and let steep for ten minutes. Pour through a strainer; add sweetener, stirring to dissolve. Serve to a lucky guest!

A note on straining: You can strain through a fine mesh sieve, or layer cheesecloth in it to really get out the tiny grit. I find I prefer it to be very finely strained!

*A note on chai spices: I love the Kenyan blend that my sisters bring back from Africa, but you can also find beautiful blends from India, other countries and also in the US. I’ve found some wonderfully fresh and fragrant blends from the high-quality spice purveyor in my native Seattle. Yes, you can order online! The Spicy Seattle Chai is outstanding. Look for blends that are just pure spices, no added flavorings, sugars, or other non-essential ingredients. Some spice blends are ground very fine; others are coarse or may have whole coriander, cloves et cetera. Explore with abandon!  Invent your own!

**A note on milk: You can use just milk. Just water. A mixture; almond milk, coconut milk, goat’s milk. I use raw cow’s milk most of the time, and mix it with up to 50% water. It depends on what’s available! Slightly sour milk is perfect.

Download recipe PDF here

How do you welcome guests into your home?  Do you enjoy unexpected drop-ins?

Mrs H
Killin time on Instagram – it’s a slow death
Fresh faces on Facebook. Are you a bookie, too?

As seen on The Prairie Homestead Round-Up


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