Indonesian-style ‘Masala Tea’: Spiced Lemongrass Milk Tea

A quick, simple and refreshing milk tea flavoured with lemongrass, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, inspired by Indian masala tea.

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Deyana Goh
Deyana Goh
Deyana was born in Singapore and lives there. She is half-Chinese, half-Arab, with a grandmother who was born to an Arab family in Bogor, Indonesia. Deyana grew up eating Indonesian food as it is cooked in Arab-Indonesian households, and has fond memories of the festive whole chicken stuffed with lamb.

This recipe isn’t exactly Indonesian, as Indonesians don’t traditionally add milk to tea. However, the ingredients used are common to Indonesian cooking. You’ll find many of these ingredients in teas and other drinks — especially jamu, or herbal drinks.

Lemongrass drinks are popular in Southeast Asia, especially in places like Thailand and Vietnam. They’ve now caught on in Indonesia too. Lemongrass adds a very refreshing flavour to drinks that’s unique and can’t really be substituted. Even lemongrass boiled in water, with a little sugar added, can make for a lovely uncaffeinated, healthy drink.

The herb is usually associated with Southeast Asia, but not many know that it’s also used in India. In fact, lemongrass milk tea is a popular drink in certain parts of India, and, unlike in Southeast Asia, it always contains milk. This recipe is similar to Indian lemongrass tea, except that a few extra spices have been added. It’s spiced and creamy, but still retains the refreshing flavour of the lemongrass, and is very simple. 

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Indonesian-style ‘Masala Tea’: Spiced Lemongrass Milk Tea

Indonesian-style ‘Masala Tea’: Spiced Lemongrass Milk Tea

  • Author: Deyana Goh
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This recipe is for a quick, simple and refreshing milk tea flavoured with lemongrass, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, inspired by Indian teas.


  • 100 ml water
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ inch cinnamon
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp tea leaves


  1. In a pot, bring the water to a boil and add the lemongrass, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. Boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and tea. Boil for 3 minutes.
  3. Strain and serve.


  • You can skip the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom altogether to get an even more basic but still-delicious lemongrass tea.

Keywords: Quick and easy, common ingredients

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