Chai – 2 Ways

I never had proper Chai until my best friend N made it for me one night. By her own admission, N is not very fond of cooking, but she makes 2 things very well, simple dal and Chai.

Her technique for making good chai is to scoop the tea in a ladle and pour it back into the pot. I don’t know if she does this out of sheer boredom, waiting for the tea or if there is a scientific reason for it. But it works and it makes really good Chai.

I’ve adopted her technique, but have changed the spice mix a little. These are my versions. There are no rules, so discard or double anything. Just keep the water and milk ratio the same and it will be hard to go wrong.

There are 2 versions here, one really spicy, and one a lot lighter for a quick rainy afternoon drink that goes well with Khari biscuits.

Version 1: Simple Chai – 2 cups

You’ll need:
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 2 inch piece ginger (crushed lightly)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon tea (Taj Mahal Brand)
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • Milk (to taste, I use about 2 cups for really milky tea)
In a pot, add water, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and pepper corns. Bring to a rolling boil. Add sugar. Using a ladle, scoop up the water and pour back into the pot. Repeat a couple of times. Add tea, boil for about 2 minutes. Switch stove off. Leave tea to steep for about 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, bring tea water back to a boil. Add milk, when it comes back to the boil, use a ladle, scoop up tea and pour back into pot, repeat a couple of times and then pour mixture through a sieve and serve. Add more milk if you like it milky.
Version 2: Spicy Masala Chai – 2 cups

You’ll need:

  • Just a little over 1 and 1/2 cups of water
  • 3 slices ginger (I leave the skin on)
  • Small pinch of fennel seeds (un-roasted)
  • 1/2 cinnamon quill
  • 3 cardamom pods (crushed lightly)
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste)
  • Tiniest pinch of salt (just to highlight the flavors)
  • 2 teaspoons of tea (I use Taj Mahal Brand)
  • 1 cup full cream milk (I use Paul’s Pure Organic Parmalat milk)

In a pot, bring water, spices and ginger to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add tea, sugar and salt. While boiling, use a ladle to scoop up some of the liquid and pour back into the pot. This aerates the tea and enhances the flavors. Do this for about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, let the tea seep into the water. When you’re ready to serve, place pot back on the stove, add milk. Bring to a boil. When it comes to the first boil, do the ladle thing again for a minute. Remove from heat and pour through a sieve. Enjoy!

For extra creamy tea, add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream when you add the milk.For more flavor, add a teaspoon of Nestle Top n Fill caramel with the milk.

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