Chai is India’s lifeline! And we want you to try them all so we’ve compiled five classic and nostalgic recipes of chai for you to try this season!
Chai. India’s most popular beverage. And monsoon just calls for chai (like you really need an excuse)! Having a cup of tea while munching on some hot pakodas is definitely everyone’s ideal rainy day. We’ve developed five chai recipes for you, guaranteed to make you feel warm and fuzzy. Exactly the kind of feeling a good cup of tea leaves you with.
Can you believe it? For a very very long time, I couldn’t make a decent cup of tea to save my life. It was frustrating because no matter what I did, I couldn’t quite get it right. And then a friend taught me to add the tea leaves and sugar, let them brew for a bit before adding the milk. It was life changing haha.
Now, I always start my day with a cup of masala chai. I love that hit of cardamom and spices and the strong, hot tea really wakes me up.
A good cup of tea should have a deep colour, flavour that comes from spices and the tea; bold but not bitter. Milky but not thick. Sweet but not cloying.
You see how difficult a good cup of chai can be to make? That’s why we decided to do the job for you!
SPICES IN TEA
Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves are amazing in a cup of masala chai. They add this gorgeous earthy, warm flavour that can leaving you feeling so satisfied. A lot of people like to make a chai masala or tea blend that they can add to their tea while brewing it, but I prefer adding freshly pounded spices instead.
WHICH TEA TO USE
To have the ultimate cup of chai, it is important to buy good quality tea leaves. I’d always recommend buying loose long leaved teas that don’t look or feel too crumbly when you hold them. Good teas retain their aromas and smell fantastic. Having said that, I know that everyone has their preference and there are some really good boxed tea options in India. We love Wagh Bakri and swear by it for our milk teas. For black teas, we have a small collection of Darjeeling, Green and Assam tea that we love and use every once in a while.
MILK VS NO MILK
Milk tea originated as an alternative to the traditional unsweetened teas, such as Assam black. Adding milk is again a personal preference. If you are brewing a cup of masala chai or ginger chai, I highly recommend adding a dash of milk. How much milk can also differ so widely. I know communities which make tea from 100% milk and won’t have it any other way. But I find those teas to thick and dense for my tasty.
Start by following my recipes for milk teas and then adjust the proportions to your liking.
However, there are many non milk based teas that are just as good. Green tea for example is light, undergoes minimal processing and contains the greatest number of beneficial antioxidants. You’ve also got Sulaimani which is an amazing sweetened lemon and mint based tea. Prepared from black tea, the boldness is dulled by the sweetness of the sugar and the tartness of the lemon. We are also showing you an immunity boosting turmeric and lemon tea today, that’s surprisingly refreshing! And then there’s my personal favourite – Kahwa which originates from Kashmir and our blend has rose petals and saffron. Absolutely stunning!
Ultimately, brew all the types of tea you can and you’ll find your perfect cup out there. How to make chai? Just watch the video below and follow these simple steps.
HOW TO MAKE CHAI VIDEO
On my quest to find the perfect cup of tea, I’ve narrowed it down to these five favourites.
Masala chai is my go to in the morning. The sweet and spicy smell of a steaming cup of masala chai in the morning is pure bliss.
How to make Masala Chai
- 1 cup Water
- 2 teaspoon Tea Leaves
- 3 Green Cardamoms
- 2 Cloves
- 1/2 inch piece Cinnamon
- 3 Peppercorn
- 1-2 tsp Sugar
- 3/4 cup Milk
- Use a mortar and pestle to lightly crush the whole spices. Keep aside.
- In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat and add the crushed spices and tea leaves. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes to allow it to absorb all the flavours and gain colour.
- Add in the milk and sugar, stir to combine. Bring the tea to a boil and turn off the heat. Strain and serve hot along with some digestive biscuits.
Adrak wali chai which translates to Ginger tea is one for those classic rainy days. The ginger always makes me feel all cozy. Definitely have a cup of this to keep your worries away.
How to make Adrak Chai (Ginger Tea)
- 1 cup Water
- 1.5 inch piece Ginger
- 2.5 tsp Tea Leaves
- 1-2 tsp Sugar
- 3 tbsp Milk
- Use a mortar and pestle and lightly pound the ginger to release the juices. You could also grate the ginger using a fine grater/zester instead. Keep aside.
- In a pot, bring water to a boil. Once water starts to boil, reduce the heat and add the ginger and tea leaves. Let it simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Add sugar to sweeten. I like my tea moderately sweet so 2 teaspoons does the trick for me but you can adjust the sugar as per your taste. Stir to combine and turn off the heat. At this stage, you can serve it straight as a black tea or add milk. It tastes wonderful either way!
- Strain and serve it piping hot along with some biscuits of your choice.
Sulaimani chai is the perfect finish to a heavy meal. This chai is extremely popular across the Malabar coastline. It’s super light and works effectively as a digestive aid. Binge on biryani then down one sulaimani. You deserve it!
How to make Sulaimani Chai
- 1 cup Water
- 3/4 tsp Ginger
- 1 Cardamom
- 1 Clove
- 1/2 tsp Tea Leaves
- 1 tsp Jaggery
- 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 2-3 Fresh Mint Leaves
- Use a mortar and pestle to lightly crush the whole spices together. Keep aside. Next, lightly pound ginger to release the juices. Alternatively, you could also grate the ginger using a fine grater/zester. Keep this aside as well.
- Add water to a pot and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the crushed whole spices, ginger and tea leaves. Allow it to simmer for 5-7 minutes. If you are using whole jaggery, add it at this stage so it can dissolve completely. Turn off the heat. If you are using powdered jaggery, you can add it in at this stage. Also add in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and mint leaves and mix to combine.
- Strain and pour into a chai glass or a mug, and consume while hot.
Kahwa is a traditional non milk tea from the beautiful state of Kashmir. It is a spiced concoction made with steeped green tea and is incredibly fragrant. Kahwa was made to equip your body to the cold Kashmir weather. But it can be consumed anytime and anywhere! Saffron, various spices, dry fruits and nuts make it an immunity booster, a stress buster, a digestive aid and a cold remedy. The list just goes on and on with this one.
How to make Kashmiri Kahwa
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Green Cardamom
- 1 Clove
- 1 inch Cinnamon
- 3-4 Rose Petals
- 4-5 strands Saffron
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- Use a mortar and pestle to lightly crush the whole spices and keep aside.
- Add water to a pot and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the crushed whole spices, rose petals and saffron. Simmer for 5-7 minutes and bring to a boil. Add sugar and turn off the heat.
- Add green tea leaves/green tea bags and cover the pot. Let it steep for 3 minutes.
- Uncover, strain and serve hot in a chai glass or a mug.
Funnily enough turmeric tea is not technically a tea, cause it doesn’t use any tea leaves. It is a tisane or herbal tea. It has massive immunity boosting properties and also helps with irritable bowel syndrome. But don’t let all this put you off; you’d have to be tisane (read: insane) not to try it!
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/4 tsp Fresh Turmeric (or turmeric powder)
- 1/4 tsp Ginger
- 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Honey
- Use a zester or a fine grater to grate the turmeric and ginger. Keep this aside.
- Add water to a pot and allow it to heat up. Just as it reaches a slow simmer, add grated turmeric and grated ginger and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Add honey to sweeten. If you wish, you can use sugar or jaggery instead. Also add freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir it in. Strain and pour into a chai glass or a mug, and consume while hot.
Tea is nothing short of a way of life in India. I hope you all love trying out all the different and fun teas I’ve compiled for you. I hope you find your answer to the question ‘to tea or not to tea!’ in your perfect cup of tea.