In an Indian household, days are punctuated with Chai. It is the exclamation point that rouses one out of bed, the comma in a long afternoon and the “full stop” (period) after a good meal. However, in our servant-less household, it gets made every two days and stored in a french press with the spices (it’s super spicy by day 2!) and microwaved when desired. It’s best served fresh and with biscuits!
Every family and region has their own variation so feel free to experiment and see what you like!
2 Cups water
1 Cup milk
10-15 cardamom pods*
1 Cinnamon stick*
1 inch chopped fresh ginger*
2 Tbs loose tea leaves*
2 Tbs sugar or honey
1. Pour water and milk into a saucepan on high heat. Cut or break cardamom pods and place seeds in the pan, add cinnamon stick and ginger. Bring to a boil, remove quickly from heat to avoid overflow (Once the liquid starts rising it quickly boils over!).
2. When the liquid goes back down in the pan, place back on heat and add tea leaves. Stir.
3. When it begins to boil add sugar. Stir.
4. Turn the heat down and let simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a sieve (or into a french press!) and pour into mugs. Add sugar to taste. Enjoy!
*If you are unable to find these ingredients, you can use powdered ginger, cinnamon and powdered cardamom. Use about 1 tsp each. For tea, if you can buy boxed “Red Label” or “Taj Mahal” black tea leaves (loose), that’s best. If not, cut open 2-3 black tea or orange pekoe bags.