Lactose-Free Indian Masala Chai w/a Secret Ingredient [Quarantine Day 13]

For us Indians, chai is more than a shot of caffeine to start the day… is a ritual that transcends all boundaries anywhere Indians go because it’s not just the morning that must start with the perfect sip of strong, hot chai.

Meeting friends? Let’s have a pot of chai!

Feeling blue? Let’s have a cup of chai!

Raining outside? Let’s have some more chai!

Tired after work? Let’s have some chai!

You get the point….we Indians can drink chai at all hours (or at least many of us can) – with our afternoon snack and after a tiring day at work and even as a nightcap before going to bed cause chai heals pain, soothes away hurts, provides companionship, offers sympathy, and chases the blues away!

Don’t you just love the elephant imprinted cup with the stainless steel saucer? I got a set from India on my latest trip.

There are lots of recipes for chai on youtube so why am I writing a post on chai?

It’s because my chai has one secret ingredient that gives it a unique flavor – Lemongrass! Yes, the same lemongrass that’s used in Thai food. It’s a gamechanger and makes the chai uniquely fragrant and delicious.

Also, since we’re a family with lactose-intolerant individuals, our tea is made with lactose-free milk [and sometimes even with oat milk – see recipe here].

INGREDIENTS [makes ~4-5 cups]

Chai Masala [Homemade spice mix]
Lemongrass (dried)


  • Heat 3.5 cups of water in a pan.
  • Add the chai masala, lemongrass leaves, and loose tea.
  • Lower heat and allow the water to simmer for ~5 mins.
  • Add the lactose-free milk and bring the tea to a boil.
  • Once the tea is a rich brownish-red color, remove from heat, strain it, and serve immediately.


  • I have lemongrass plants so I dry my own lemongrass but you can buy it on amazon.
  • You can replace the chai masala with 1/2 tsp of ginger. I no longer like the taste of ginger in my tea.
  • You can use regular milk or oat milk or even half & half.
  • We like our tea watery – increasing the quantity of milk will make the tea thicker and taste richer.
  • Use more or less loose tea depending on how strong you like your tea.
My lemongrass plant – it’s finally coming back after hibernating all winter.
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