Chai has been all the rage in the West for the past few years, with Starbucks’ Chai Latte and Oregon Chai leading the pack amongst many other brands. However, making chai at home is very simple and can be often done in less than 5 minutes! Chai just means “tea” in various South Asian languages including Urdu and Hindi. So tip #1: don’t say “chai tea” because you’re really saying “tea tea” :)
Onto the recipe! In South Asian households chai is usually made multiple times a day. This recipe is for the type of chai that is made in Pakistan or Northern India – with the milk cooked with the tea on the stove instead of being added in later. Serving size: 2
Ingredients & Tools
- Cup strainer – buy here or from your local 99cent store
- Sugar to taste
- 1.5 cups Water
- 4 Tea Bags or 2 Tsp Loose Tea. I highly recommend Tapal Danedar
or PG Tips – both available from your local Indian store or online
- 1 cup Whole milk (lowfat milk just isn’t the same in chai)
- 1-2 pods Cardamom (optional)
- other optional spices: 1 cinnamon stick, 2-3 slivers garlic (good for when you have a cold)
Generally 1 cup of chai should contain 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk and either 1tsp loose tea or 2 teabags. Here is the recipe for making 2 cups. Keep in mind that some of the water evaporates while boiling so you’ll want to start out with more water than necessary.
- Place water and cardamom into saucepan and heat to a boil.
- Add tea and wait until the color comes out (~2 minutes).
- Add milk and decrease heat to medium or less. The trick is to now let the milk slowly simmer and create a skin on top of the tea.
- Milk will come to a rolling boil but monitor it and quickly decrease the heat so that it doesn’t spill. Repeat 2-3 times depending on how frothy you like your milk.
- Strain into cups and enjoy!
- Pan cleaning tip: just soak it in water for a bit and it’s easy enough to clean if you’ve used loose tea.