I am more of a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional cup of Indian chai. Especially when I make things like pakora, or paratha (Indian pan-fried flatbread). When I was growing up, it was made multiple times a day in my parent’s house. Whenever we’d visit relatives in India, we would have it served to us in every house we visited.
The Ingredients for Perfect Cup of Chai
In my opinion, this drink needs whole spices to make it perfect. I prefer not to use ground spices. Believe me, once you try this method, you’ll love it.
The Ingredients List for Perfect Cup of Chai:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cinnamon stick – 1 inch long
- 2 whole cloves
- 4 black peppercorns
- 2 pods green cardamom
- fennel seeds (optional)
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon loose leaf black tea
- 1/2 cup milk
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To get a perfect drink, we need to brew the whole spices. Add one and a half cups of water into a pot. Turn the heat to a medium-low and add all the whole spices into the pot. Just before you add the green cardamom, make sure to crack it open. The seeds are where all the flavor is.
Let the water and spices come to a boil and continue to boil for about 2-3 minutes. You want to extract everything from the spices, so letting it boil is going to allow the flavors from the spices to seep into the water. Now you can slice and add the ginger to the spiced water. Let it continue to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the leaves into the pot and allow it to steep for another 5 minutes. The water will take on a dark color.
By now the amount of water in the pot should have been reduced a little bit. As it “cooks” the water evaporates. That’s why we start with more water than we need. Once it has been boiling for a few minutes, we can add the milk. But, you can use any kind you prefer (including non-dairy substitutes). Some people prefer to drink it black.
Adding the Dairy
Adding the milk or cream will cool it down, and it will need to be brought up to a boiling point again. This final brewing process really helps bring the flavors together and make that perfect drink. Let it boil for another 2-3 minutes.
Using a sieve, strain into your cup. Serve with:
- Sugar, honey, maple syrup – sweeteners of any kind work with this.
- Condensed milk – replace your dairy with a few tablespoons of condensed milk and see how much you love it.
- Non-dairy substitues – I enjoy it with a variety of other non-dairy substitutes such as oat, or almond creamers.
- With ice – allow it to cool down a tad and add ice cubes to it and enjoy a cold beverage.
- Enjoy with my
- Pakora – a crispy, golden, deep fried Indian snack made with an array of Indian spices and chickpea flour batter
- Indian shortbread – this melt in your mouth sweet treat is perfectly spiced with cardamom and topped with almonds and is gluten free.
- Tapioca pearl patties – made with tapioca balls and potatoes and served with a side of a variety of chutneys.
The Perfect Cup of ChaiCourse: SidesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
My perfect drink is made with loose leaf tea leaves and aromatic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. The addition of whole milk gives it that perfect taste.
1 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick – 1 inch long
2 whole cloves
4 black peppercorns
2 pods green cardamom
1/2 inch fresh ginger
1 tablespoon loose leaf black tea
1/2 cup milk
- Pour the water into a medium-sized pot and place it on a medium-high stove. Add the cinnamon, cloves, whole peppercorns, cardamom, and fennel seeds if using. Crack open the cardamom pods before you toss them into the water.
- Bring the water with the spices to a boil and allow it to continue to boil for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the spices to seep into the water.
- Slice and add the ginger to the spice water and allow it to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the loose leaves to the pot and steep over medium heat for about 5 mins.
- Add the milk and bring to a boil again. Let it continue to boil for another 2-3 mins.
- Using a sieve, strain into your cup. Add sugar or honey if you prefer it sweet and enjoy warm.
Enjoy with my pakora or Indian shortbread on the side.