I am more of a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional cup of chai. Especially when I make things like pakora, or paratha (Indian pan-fried flatbread). I don’t know when and how my love for coffee started because my parents were always tea drinkers. Tea was made multiple times a day in my parent’s house. And when guests came over, we would serve them tea.
The ingredients for chai
In my opinion, a perfect cup of chai needs whole spices and loose leaf tea leaves. I prefer not to use ground spices. Believe me, once you try this method, you’ll love it.
You will need:
– 1 cinnamon stick (about an inch long)
– 2 whole cloves
– 2 whole green cardamom pods
– 4 black peppercorns
– 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
– 1/2 inch fresh ginger
– 1 heaping tablespoon of loose leaf black tea
– 1/2 cup of whole milk
Brewing the Chai
To get a perfect cup of chai, we need to brew the whole spices. Add one and a half cups of water into a pot. Turn the heat to a medium-low and add all the whole spices into the pot. Just before you add the green cardamom, make sure to crack it open. The seeds are where all the flavor is.
Let the water and spices come to a boil and continue to boil for about 2-3 minutes. You want to extract everything from the spices, so letting it boil is going to allow the flavors from the spices to seep into the water. Now you can slice and add the ginger to the spiced water. Let it continue to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
We are ready to add the loose leaf tea into the pot. Add the tea into the pot and allow it to steep for another 5 minutes. The water will take on the dark color of tea.
By now the amount of water in the pot should have reduced a little bit. As the tea “cooks” the water evaporates. That’s why we start with more water than we need. Once the tea has been boiling for a few minutes, we can add the milk. I prefer to use whole milk or even cream to make my chai. But, you can use any kind you prefer (including non-dairy milk substitutes). Some people prefer to drink it black.
If you are adding milk or cream, it will need to boil again. Adding the milk or cream will cool the tea down, and it will need to be brought up to a boiling point again. This final brewing process really helps bring the flavors together and make that perfect cup of chai. Let the chai boil for another 2-3 minutes. Now you are ready to enjoy your Indian spiced tea.
The Perfect Cup of ChaiCourse: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
My perfect cup of chai is made with loose leaf tea leaves and aromatic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. The addition of whole milk gives it that perfect taste.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick – 1 inch long
2 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
2 pods green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
1/2 inch fresh ginger
1 tablespoon loose leaf black tea (or 2 tea bags)
1/2 cup milk (or any non-dairy milk of choice)
- Pour the water into a medium-sized pot and place it on a medium-high stove. Add the cinnamon, cloves, whole peppercorns, cardamom, and fennel seeds if using. Crack open the cardamom pods before you toss them into the water.
- Bring the water with the spices to a boil and allow it to continue to boil for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the spices to seep into the water.
- Slice and add the ginger to the spice water and allow it to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the loose-leaf black tea to the pot and steep over medium heat for about 5 mins.
- Add the milk and bring to a boil again. Since the milk is cool, the temperature will drop and you will need to bring it to a boil again. Let it continue to boil for another 2-3 mins.
- Using a sieve, strain the tea into your cup. Add sugar or honey if you prefer it sweet and enjoy warm.
Enjoy with my pakora or Indian shortbread on the side.
- – I like my tea strong. If you prefer a lighter version, please use a lesser quantity of tea leaves.
– Check out other snack recipes here.