Masala Chai/ Chai Latte

 

Love in a tea cup !

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Masala Chai

This comforting Chai is an absolute delight on cold winter days. The western names for ‘Masala Chai’ are Chai latte or Chai Tea ( funny ? ) . Every single Indian household makes Chai at least once a day especially in the morning. The day starts with a cup of Chai. You will find Chai vendors across the streets, at bus and train stations, offices and college canteens. It’s a quick pick-me-up drink for those lazy afternoons. And if you are visiting someone, you will be served  hot Chai with a savory  snack. I may not be wrong if I say it is the ‘National Drink’ of India. And yes it is made fresh every time !

 

 

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 Few tins from our tea corner

 

I’m not a tea person but this was the first thing I ever prepared in kitchen more than two decades ago. There is no ‘fixed’ recipe for ‘Chai’.  Every Indian family has mastered their own recipe.  Chai is essentially black tea brewed strongly and mixed with sugar and milk. Some people like it plain with no added flavors while others add one or two spices like ginger root, cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns or cinnamon sticks. 

 


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For best flavors use fresh spices 


There is even a special kind of spice available in the market – chai masala, which is frequently used these days for its ease of use. As with me, I don’t drink Chai ( surprised ? ) but when ever I make it for anyone, I don’t prefer the Chai spice. 



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Read on to check my way of making it with fresh spices.  

Makes : 2 Cups    
Difficulty level : Easy
Preparation Time : 10 minutes

 

You will need:

 

A small saucepan
1.5 cups water
2 inch ginger root ( grated / thinly sliced)  or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
8 green cardamoms or 1/2 teaspoon green cardamom powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon loose black tea leaves / 2 teabags
1 cup milk ( whole or 2 % )
2 Teaspoons sugar or as per taste
Tea strainer



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Method

 

  • In a small saucepan, combine water and all the spices. Bring it to a rolling boil. On medium flame, let it simmer for at least 2 minutes . Add the tea bag/ loose tea leaves. Let it boil and then continue to simmer on medium flame for 3 -4 minutes.
  • Add sugar and milk . Let it boil. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Strain and pour into mugs.
  • Serve hot and enjoy with your favorite snack.

 

A short cut : Sometimes I put all the ingredients together in the saucepan, including milk and let it boil. Then simmer it for about 7-8 minutes or until I get the desired color of Chai ( light brown ). Strain and serve. Try both ways  and let me know which one you like better !  



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Cooking Tips

 

  • Use loose leaf tea whenever possible for the authentic flavor. Tea bag is fine too if you do not have loose tea leaves.
  • Try to use fresh , whole spices instead of their powdered versions to get the real flavors.

 


Variations:

 

Skip all the spices mentioned above and try these variations sometimes. I drink one of these variations when I’m under the weather.

 

Cardamom Chai: Gently crush 10 cardamoms and add to the boiling water. Proceed with the basic Chai recipe.

Digestive Chai: Add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds to the boiling water. Skip other spices. Proceed with the basic Chai recipe. This aids in digestion after a heavy meal.


Ginger Chai: Gently crush 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root and add to the boiling water. Proceed with the basic Chai recipe. This is very beneficial  when you have a sore throat and cold especially when taken with honey. Substitute sugar with honey for maximum benefits.


Cinnamon Chai: Add 2 inches of cinnamon stick to the boiling water. Proceed with the basic Chai recipe.


Tulsi Chai : Add fresh Tulsi ( Holy Basil ) leaves ( 3-4 ) to the boiling water and proceed with the basic Chai recipe.


Chai Latte : Use milk frother to make froth and pour the milk froth  over the boiled black tea in the cups. Do not put any milk in the saucepan . Just strain the black tea in cups and pour froth.

 


Health Benefits
  • Tea is anti inflammatory and also rich in antioxidants.
  • All the spices used are health promoting  with excellent digestive properties.


Tea Fun :

  • The Burmese ‘eat’  a pickled tea, lephet. To make lephet, tea leaves are first softened, then allowed to cool, rolled tightly, and placed underground to age. Lephet is considered a delicacy in Burma and  mandatory for important social occasions. The Burmese usually serve it on a tray with the pickled tea in the middle, surrounded by several other garnishes. These can include shrimp, sesame seeds, garlic, peanuts, and dried peas.

 

  • The tea ceremony is an important part of Japanese culture and involves the consumption of a delicious powdered green tea known as Matcha. The tea ceremony originally began as an art form practiced by the elite of Japanese society as a way to bond socially.

 

What do I drink ? I’m not a tea fanatic but I enjoy a cup of  Turmeric Tea in winters and Iced Green Tea in summers. I also like herbal teas from Whole Foods and Sprouts.

 

33 Comments

  1. This sounds wonderful. I just saw another chai latte recipe a couple minutes ago. I haven’t tried chai latte yet but this one is tempting. I can’t wait to try it!

  2. This is a addiction and what can be more surprising when you get a new recipe

  3. This is a really amazing post. I LOVE tea, especially Chai. I had no idea that there were so many kinds!

  4. This is my favourite autumn drink. It’s so easy to make yourself at home too

  5. I am definitely having hit tomorrow this all sounds so wonderful thanks for sharing
    Xx, Stuart

    http://www.StuartSays.com

  6. Being an Indian I have grown up drinking Masala chai and now it reminds me of all my childhood days 🙂

  7. I adore chai latte, it’s my favorite hot drink. I will try your recipe for sure!

  8. I am completely a tea addict and I make my own recipes for masala teas.This is good!

  9. Just bookmarked this post! I had real Chai for the first time recently (by real I mean it had the whole spices and loose leaf tea in there not the Starbucks tazo chai concentrate) it was the most comforting and delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Whole cardamom pods and star anise. I need to try making this myself from your recipe!

  10. I like spiced teas.This sounds perfect for an evening.I like to try this recipe as all instructions are clear in this post.

  11. i am recovering from excessive chai and its really Indias favourite drink.I love ginger tea and freshly made masala chai.Its an art to get the balanceof flavours justr right!

  12. I love masala chai infact I can’t start the day without a cup of this beautiful spice infused concoction. I even grind my own chai masala .

  13. We are huge tea drinkers in my household and I have a kitchen cupboard with all my specialty teas and coffee mixes. I love Chai and enjoy making it and drinking it. 🙂

  14. I love chai tea with a little bit of almond milk – but I’ve learned that I actually like to add a tiny amount of chai tea to my vanilla protein smoothies as aswell!

  15. I might give the chai latte recipe a try next time! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. I recently started drinking more tea so I’m experimenting with various versions of this drink. I’m definitely going to try your recipe.

  17. carrie@thelavenderhytta

    Looks Yummy! Im more of a coffee drinker but this looks worth trying!

  18. The cinnamon chai variation sounds divine. I am going to try it with the milk and then strain to see if it saves some time.

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  25. Thanks Monika. Your ingredients on my shopping list! Will definitively try it! 🙂

  26. Thanks Monika. Your ingredients on my shopping list? Will definitively try it! 🙂

  27. Love the post 'n shared with my friends. I still have to try tulsi chai. Thanks for always sharing variations. ~ Gulsheen

  28. Nice post. First time here. Lovely space. Do visit mine if you find time.

  29. Add suger at last and stear to dissolve .

    • Thanks for stopping by. Actually this has been really confusing for me to find the right time to add sugar. I did a little research only to get more confused as some say add it in the beggining, others say in the end. Although tea houses leave it on you to add sugar but I thought of putting it in towards the end and giving it one boil so that it dissolves well. But thanks again for your inputs.

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