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The Signature Recipe: Dishoom’s Masala Chai

Dishoom is one of those dining institutions that has such a strong following because it has soul. From its beginnings in Covent Garden, the group now spans seven restaurants across London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

Late last year, regulars were gifted with the chance to recreate some of the famous Bombay comfort food dishes that Dishoom is known for with the launch of their first cookbook “From Bombay With Love”, which includes recipes for some of their most popular dishes like the Bacon Naan Roll, Jackfruit Biryani, and Black Daal.

Despite having more time at home, many of us forget that it’s ok to take a breather and embrace being able to relax and unwind. With that being said, I can’t think of anything more relaxing or rewarding than making yourself an excellent pot of  tea! Dishoom’s version of masala chai is a spicy, sweet version that’s found in Bombay’s tapris (street stalls).

Because Dishoom has had to close their restaurants due to the current situation, the message they’ve left their guests is to experiment with your own version of chai, try out the recipes in their book, and as per the team’s statement: “May it bring Dishoom, joy, and plenty of Daal to your home.”

Serves 4 people


2 tbsp loose Assam or Darjeeling tea, or 3 English breakfast teabags
12 slices of fresh root ginger
1½ tsp black peppercorns
12 cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
5 cloves
50g granulated white sugar
500ml whole milk


Put the tea, ginger and spices into a saucepan, pour in 1 litre of boiling water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until you can smell the spices, for about 10 minutes.

Add the sugar and milk, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Allow 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. A skin will form, but this is strained off at the end.

Taste to see if the chai is to your liking; boil a little more if you wish for a stronger flavour. Patience will be rewarded!

Strain, discard the solids, and serve immediately.

Some of the many ways to enjoy chai

Irani chai: Uses condensed milk. Sweet and milky, it is best for dunking buttered bread and baked goods into.
Badshahi chai: A portion fit for a king, served in a much larger glass and using a higher proportion of milk.
Doodhpati chai: No water, just milk.
Noon chai: With an added pinch of salt.
Kali chai: Black (no milk).
Kitchen chai: Very strong, very sweet (drunk by the bucket-load by Dishoom chefs).
Khada chamuch: So sweet that the spoon stands up in the cup.


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