Homemade Chai Recipe
For summer or winter a cup of chai is easy to make at home. Chai a cup of spiced milky tea that is made with a sprinkling of warming spices and lovingly simmered and stirred to offer you a hug in a mug.
In winter it is a wonderful cup of inner warmth and in summer you can make a fantastic and unusual milkshake or frappe.
Most of my wonderful friends make their versions of Chai, spanning the Punjab, Delhi and Mumbai. Some call it Masaala Chai others call it just Chai, but whoever offers to make you a cup, will have their own recipe. Loosely most chai contains some or all of these ingredients: fresh ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, cardamom and sometimes nutmeg and allspice. Although the latter two ingredients never feature in any that my friends serve me or ones that I have had in my favourite restaurants.
My daughter and I often used to meet up for a hot drink and snack in between my meetings in London and her lectures. They tend to be outside of conventional eating times. Other mother daughter meetings may involve tea and cake, ours involve starters at Hutong and a chai and shared dishes at Dishoom. We love The Shard it is right next door to her university and Coal Drops Yard if I am up that way.
Strangely me and my late dad were the same, I never take milk in tea but always in my coffee. Chai is the only exception, I love the milky tea and the balance of spiced flavours.
We can all stretch for a bag of ready made chai, there are so many brands available, but as a keen cook you will probably have all these spices available to you in your spice draw and a piece of fresh ginger in your fridge so make it like my friends do from scratch. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.
- 2 heaped tablespoons of black tea leaves (Assam or Darjeeling)
- or two of your favourite black tea bags
- 5 slices of fresh ginger (from a 5cm piece)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (about)
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 5cm stick of cinnamon stick broken into pieces
- 5 cloves
- 2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
- 750ml boiling water
- 400ml whole milk
- Add the spices to the pot that you will use, dry fry them on a low heat until you can smell the oils being released. Add the water, tea, loose or the bags, fresh ginger pieces and bring the ingredients to the boil.
- Turn the heat to a gentle simmer for 10-15 minutes, the water should smell fragrant and visibly darken.
- Now add the whole milk and sugar simmer the chai for another 10-15 minutes, don't worry if the milk forms a skin, this will be strained off. Stir often so the milk does not catch.
- Using a strainer or sieve, remove all the spices and the ginger pieces and pour into a tea pot or individual cups and enjoy.
A simple version they make in Delhi for any passing visitor is Chai boiled with cardamon pods and fresh ginger spices.
My friends are all amazing cooks and after one of their meals I struggle to eat dessert, so we often end a meal with a cup of chai instead. It is a sweet cup of tea made with love.
Chai Latte froth the mixture in a blender or using a milk frother
Make the chai as above and cool and serve with ice
Make a chai milkshake, make your milkshake as you would normally, I love lots of vanilla ice cream and a little milk, in this case replace the milk with the cooled chai mixture.
Edible Gift Idea
Bag up in little muslin squares with the recipe ingredients or fill your own tea bags, bundle them into a glass kilner jar and attach a copy of the recipe to the jar.
Enjoy making a cup of chai to enjoy untraditionally cooled in the summer or in front of a fire on a winter night.