Tea fans are very specific about what makes a “perfect” cup. With that being said, I will share with you my favorite tea recipe and what our friends and family insist we serve to them when they come to visit. It’s almost exactly the same as my first recipe for plain chai, however, this has a strong kick of freshly grated ginger.
Like many of the Indian dishes I’ve tried over the years, I didn’t like ginger chai at first. This seems to be my initial reaction to anything I haven’t tried before. Now, I can hardly do without it.
This is a strong cup of chai and warms you all over. During the winter months…and by winter I’m referring to a chilly Californian 60-degrees…when everyone around us is catching a cold. We like to make sure we sit down with a hot cup of ginger chai every morning. The fresh ginger is a wonderful remedy to give your immune system an extra boost.
When I was first learning how much ginger Hubby prefers in his chai it was taking me a while to finally land on the right amount of ginger to use. I finally found the right formula for him and it seems to work every time. My strategy is to grate the amount of ginger I usually prefer and then keep going for a while. Once I’ve used about double the amount of ginger I like, surely believing I’ve used an obnoxious amount of ginger…I keep going. THEN, once it’s truly a ridiculous amount of ginger, I know I’ve reached Hubby’s preferred level of ginger.
Needless to say, Hubby really likes his ginger chai strong.
There is one piece of advice I feel it is my duty to share to all those embarking on making their own chai. And it is that one day, you will accidentally let your chai boil over onto the stove. It is unavoidable. You will be standing by the stove after having added the milk. You will be diligently keeping an eye on the pot. A slow moving minute or two will pass and nothing will have happened, during which time your mind will undoubtedly wander. It will be in that split second, when your attention was allowed to drift, that the milk will quickly bubble up and the chai will spill all over your once immaculate stove top.
Don’t resist it; it is bound to happen. It’s almost an initiation. A right of passage to becoming an authentic chai drinker. Look down on the mess that was once your clean stove top and realize that millions of enthusiastic chai drinkers have probably had the same experience with their morning cup of chai as well.
Please tell me someone else out there has experienced their chai boiling over time and time again. At least once.?
I seem to do it on a weekly basis. As soon as I tell myself that I’ve finally learned to pay attention, that’s the day it spills all over!
GINGER CHAI RECIPE
The type of tea you use will make or break any tea recipe. The tea we always use is the brand Wagh Bakri, which can be found at most Indian stores. Other good brand options are Tata Tea and Brooke Bond Red Label, both of which are available at Indian stores.
If you cannot find any of these at least make sure the tea you use is an Indian black tea but it should also be loose leaf. Using tea bags will always result in a watery and tasteless chai that is honestly not worth drinking.
The sugar I recommend in this recipe is the amount I use when serving guests but feel free to add more or remove it all together, according to your own sweet tooth.
Time: 15 minutes
Serves: Two 8 ounces cups
2 cup water
2 tablespoons Indian black tea
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 inch ginger, grated
1. BOIL THE TEA & INGREDIENTS
- Pour the 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons tea and 2 tablespoons sugar into a medium-sized pot, set over medium-high heat.
- Grate a 1-inch piece of ginger directly into the pot. No need to peel the ginger since it will be strained out at the end.
- Once the tea begins to boil, set the timer for five minutes and let the tea gently boil.
2. ADD THE MILK
After five minutes add a cup of milk and turn the heat up to high.
This is not the time to walk away from the stove, keep a close eye on the heating milk as you don’t want the milk to boil over.
Once the milk begins to boil immediately take it off the heat. Set it aside for five minutes to cool to drinking temperature.
Many experienced chai makers like to bring the milk to a boil three times to help thicken and mix the flavors a bit more. They swear by this last bit of extra effort for making the perfect cup of chai.
- When the milk comes to a boil, allow it to boil up as much as possible without letting it spill over.
- Once the milk is just about to boil over, lift the pot off the heat quickly and blow on it till the foam dies down.
- Place the pot back onto the heat and let it come back to a boil, repeating the process three times.
Question to all the experienced chai drinkers out there:
Do you think this extra boiling of the milk really works or is it an old wives tale?
3. STRAIN THE TEA
Strain the tea into cups and serve.
MORE CHAI RECIPES