The Best Authentic Indian Chai Tea Recipe
Have you ever had authentic Indian Chai? I’m not talking the kind you get at Starbucks, or in a tea bag at Whole Foods. I’m talking authentic Chai made with freshly ground Masala. Masala is the spice mix. Masala mixes vary, and can be tweaked to suit your own taste. I prefer a warm, peppery mix. Once you adjust the spices to your own personal taste, increase the quantities and store in air-tight glass container.
- Cardamom Seeds- 3 tbsp
- Dry Ginger Powder – 5 tbsp (omit if you have access to fresh ginger root)
- Whole Black Pepper – 4 tbsp
- Clove Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Cinnamon Powder- 1 tsp
- Nutmeg – 3/4 tsp
- Allspice – 1/2 tsp
- Saffron – 1 small piece
Try to use whole spices and grind them yourself. Grind in an electric grinder. I use one grinder especially for spices. After grinding, stir the spices and mix well. This is your masala (spice) mix. Store in airtight container.
- Add masala mix to pan according to taste. I usually add about 1/2 tsp. per mug. Turn on heat just long enough to unlock aroma. Be careful as you do not want to scorch the spices. Just heat until fragrant. Then, go to next step.
- Traditional chai is made with equal parts milk and water ( I use about 70% water, and 30% milk) add sugar or honey to taste. Add water/milk mix to pan. I use a mug to measure. Add 1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk (optional). Then, heat mixture.
- When the mixture comes to a boil, add loose black or assam tea leaves (1 tsp per cup, or 1 tbsp per mug) and switch off the stove.
- Cover and let the tea steep for 3-4 minutes.
- Filter with a small sieve and serve.
- It’s best not to buy standard brand spices from the grocery store. They are overpriced, and the quality is not good. Try buying spices in bulk from an Indian store, or Whole Foods. The quality is like night and day.
- Use loose tea, not tea bags. I can’t explain why, but for some reason the milk prevents tea bags from steeping properly. It will taste bland with tea bags. Trust me on this one, loose tea gives a rich flavor. I use Red Label, but Lipton loose tea is good, too.
- Sweetened condensed milk makes the tea richer, and more delicious. Just use less sugar if you use it.
Reasons For Drinking Chai
Aside from it being more delicious than coffee, chai is very healthy. I used to be a coffee nut until I discovered real, authentic chai. Another reason for drinking chai is it contains many of the 18 best cancer fighting spices.