There is nothing better than a true cup of Indian Chai, and what can be better than being able to make it in the comfort of your own kitchen.  Those who are chai obsessed (like Hubby and me) are VERY particular about their chai.  Chai can be made in many different ways; with ginger added for “ginger chai”, with cardamom and cloves added for “cardamom chai”.  There’s even a spice mix you can buy at the Indian store for “masala chai”.

Many of my American friends tell me they love chai.  I’m always very interested when they tell me this because I immediately wonder where do they get chai from?  How are they experiencing authentic Indian chai?  Then they almost always tell me…Starbucks.  Now Starbucks is a great place…I am personally a Peet’s girl myself.  But I have to set the record straight.  The “Chai Latte” they serve at Starbucks might be milky and delicious, but it is nothing like actual Indian chai.  To experience the real deal, chai must be made from scratch. There are no shortcuts when it comes to chai.

I love inviting my friends over for chai.  It’s always the best cup of chai they have ever had, because it’s finally the real thing.  The real test for making great chai is when Indians, who drink chai multiple times a day, say they love your chai and ask you what kind of tea you use.

Here is the recipe you’ll need for a great cup of chai.

Recipe: Authentic Indian Chai

This recipe calls for black loose-leaf Indian tea. If you want the taste of real Indian chai, you cannot use just any black loose-leaf tea or it just won’t taste right. It’s got to be the Indian stuff which means you will need to find an Indian store. Of course, one would never bother to use tea bags, you might as well just go to Starbucks.

Time: 15 minutes (10 minutes if you like it steaming hot)

Serving: two 8 oz. cups of chai

Ingredients:

1 cup water

2 tablespoons. Indian black tea

1 cup milk (more if you like it thicker, less if you like the tea stronger)

sugar/agave/any sweetener: to taste

a note on tea:

we use the brand “Wagh Bakri Chai”. In English this means “Tiger Goat tea”…who knows why…but that’s the name. We used to use “Brooke Bond Red Label” then we used the “Tata” label but “Wagh Bakri” has the best overall taste. If you don’t have an Indian store in your neighborhood, You will need to find yourself an Indian friend or co-worker to pick you up the real stuff at an Indian store. My family in Santa Cruz, where there is no Indian grocery store, just tells me to bring stuff for them when we come down.

Procedure:

Pour water and 2 tablespoons of tea into a pot and bring to a boil. If you are using sugar to sweeten your tea, add it at the beginning as well. If using agave or something similar, use it at the end once you have strained your tea.

Once the tea begins to boil, start the timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of boiling, add milk and bring to a boil again. For stronger tea, bring the milkened-tea to a boil at least 3 times, this is optional and usually only done by very demanding chai drinkers (I include myself in this category).

Strain and serve at this time if you like it super hot. We like to let it sit for 5 minutes in the pot just to cool it down a bit.

This is what we drink every morning. In India, my mother-in-law uses buffalo milk rather than cow’s milk, which has a much heavier and thicker consistency as well as a lot more flavor. However, I have yet to find buffalo milk in the Indian store, so we use 2% milk. If using whole milk, you can use a bit more water and less milk since it is thicker, but that depends on your taste preference.

Enjoy!!

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes.  Write me a comment or send me an email here.

Recipe: Authentic Indian Chai

This recipe calls for black loose-leaf Indian tea. Time: 15 minutes (10 minutes if you like it steaming hot) Servings: For two 8 oz. cups of chai

Ingredients:

1 cup water 2 tbs. Indian black tea 1 cup milk (more if you like it thicker, less if you like the tea stronger) sugar/agave/any sweetener: to taste

a note on tea:

we use the brand “Wagh Bakri Chai”. This can be found at an Indian grocery store.

Procedure:

Pour water and 2 teaspoons of tea into a pot and bring to a boil. If you are using sugar to sweeten your tea, add it at the beginning as well. If using agave or something similar, use it at the end once you have strained your tea. Once the tea begins to boil, start the timer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of boiling, add milk and bring to a boil again. For stronger tea, bring the milkened-tea to a boil at least 3 times, this is optional and usually only done by very demanding chai drinkers (I include myself in this category). Strain and serve at this time if you like it super hot or let cool. This is what we drink every morning. In India, my mother-in-law uses buffalo milk rather than cow’s milk, which has a much heavier and thicker consistency as well as a lot more flavor. However, I have yet to find buffalo milk in the Indian store, so we use 2% milk. If using whole milk, you can use a bit more water and less milk since it is thicker, but that depends on your taste preference. Enjoy!!

Published on: Jul 25, 2011

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