News | 14 December 2022

How to make Chai Masala with Spice Tree

In Behind the Stalls, we have gone behind the scenes with some of the vibrant characters of Wellington waterfront’s Harbourside Market as they show us how to make their most popular products. In the third of six stories, we meet the Spice Tree family and learn how to make their famous Chai Masala.

Woman smiling holding a metal bowl of flour.
Daughter Aishu making flour in the Spice Tree facility.

The Spice Tree family are all about working as a team.
 
Prashanth, Vasantha and their children Aishu and Yesh launched Spice Tree in August 2020 – a proud family business that manufactures freshly ground whole spice powders, spice mixes, seasonings, spice rubs and health mixes. They also make nutritionally rich flour using New Zealand grown wheat, grains, and pulses.

The idea came about when they realised that there was a lack of authentic and locally ground spices in New Zealand, says Vasantha.

 “Sometimes spices can be on shelves for a few months, and they may have been manufactured overseas anywhere between six to twelve months earlier.”
 
Their mission is to provide customers with fresh, nutritious and authentic products that are made locally, and do not contain any chemical or synthetic additives and preservatives, says Prashanth. 
 
“We supply premium spice and grain products that our customers and their families can make memories with. We wish for them to give our products a pride of place in their kitchen pantries.”

Group of people smiling.
Yesh (Left), Vasantha, Prashanth, and Aishu (right).

Vasantha had an accident a few years ago and is still undergoing recovery. During this time, she felt the need to share some of the family’s favourite recipes and gave instructions and advice to the family to begin product development. 

They now share many of their favourite recipes on the back of their products so others are inspired to make delicious, healthy meals in in their own homes, Aishu adds.

“Mum is well known for her culinary skills. Friends and family have fantastic memories of the extraordinary taste of all her dishes. The secret is the knowledge she inherited from her mother, mother-in-law, and other elderly family members and friends!” 

Spice Tree started with six products and over the last two years developed and released twenty-six more. Their production and packing facilities are based in Wainuiomata, with large, high-capacity machinery and processing stations.

With Covid restrictions easing, the family are now back at the Harbourside Market where they get to see their regular customers. Many of their customers have become close family friends, says Prashanth.

“Having a stall at the market has really helped. People from within Wellington as well as other parts of the country that visit the market buy our products. A great majority of them are now regular customers and place their orders online or pop in to meet us on Sundays,” says Yesh.

Spice Tree’s Butter Chicken Masala has won the Bronze at the 2022 NZ Artisan Awards, and now their products are available across a range of supermarkets and stores in the Wellington region, adds Prasanth. 

“Our passion and commitment to supplying premium quality, authentic and traditional products is what has helped us grow to this level. We think we make a delicious Chai Masala, and people keep coming back for it!”

Teacups with Chai Masala in them.
The famous Spice Tree Chai Masala.

How to make Chai Masala (the Spice Tree way):

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Spice Tree Chai Masala
  • 2-3 Black Tea Bags or 1 tbsp Loose Black Tea Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk

Directions:

1. Boil water in a small pot

2. Add Spice Tree Chai Masala, stir to remove lumps until dissolved

3. Add the tea bags and sugar

4. Simmer for a few minutes

5. Add milk and boil for a few more minutes

6. Strain into teacups and enjoy

Find out more about Spice Tree, or check them out at the Harbourside Market