The perfect Indian chai
Chai means tea. However, in the West the word chai refers to what in India is called Masala Chai. Masala is a mixture of spices. Therefore Masala Chai is black tea brewed with a mix of spices, and most often with cow’s milk, sugar, and of course water. If you ask for chai in India, you will receive black tea with cows milk and a heaping of sugar. No spice.
When brewing up chai in india, the masala of choice varies between the different regions and states within the country. Ayurvedic Chai, on the contrary, is consistently the same as it is based on medicinal principles, with seasonal nuances taken into consideration.
If you want to cut back on caffeine, it's a good way to start. The nutmeg, cinammon, and cardamom in this recipe counter many of the negative effects of caffeine.
Here I share with you the Ayurvedic Chai recipe which I have been having with my family for years, and now make for loved ones around me. Not only will you be able to easily follow this recipe and enjoy the leisurely act of sipping on a homemade brew, here you will also understand the reasons why each element, or ingredient, of the recipe is so essential.
Drinking Masala Chai is drinking up the richness of a spiritual way of life. Savour each sip!
- 1 cup organic, unhomogenised, full fat cow’s milk
- 1 cup Filtered, boiled water
- 3 tsp jaggery or rapadura sugar
- 1 tsp organic loose leaf black tea
- Thumb size piece of freshly grated organic ginger
- 3-5 Green cardamom pods
- Large pinch ajwain seeds
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 1 small cinnamon stick, or 2 tsp of cinnamon chips
- Pinch fennel seeds (late spring – summertime only)
- 3 clove buds (wintertime only)
- Small saucepan to brew your chai in
- Fine and small mesh strainer
- Spoon for stirring
- Grater (for fresh ginger)
- Your favourite tea cups or mugs
– Boil water in your kettle/jug. Whilst water is boiling, grate fresh ginger into saucepan, and add the rest of your spices.
– Add a cup of boiled water to saucepan, and turn stove on to high heat, bringing spiced water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Leave to simmer and brew for a few mins (the longer you leave it the more flavour. However, more water will evaporate, so reduce to low-medium temperature if you wish to leave it for a while).
– Add jaggery (or sugar of choice). Stir through briefly.
– Turn heat to high. Immediately add black tea and milk together at the same time. Stir through.
– Bring to a boil. (Don’t let it overflow!!)
– Take your chai off the heat, and let it sit for a couple of minutes. You could add 1/4 tsp powdered turmeric at this time if you wish – but not essential. Keep stirring occasionally prior to serving, as milk is unhomogenised, and the fats will keep settling.
– Strain directly into your tea mugs, through your fine strainer. Pour patiently so as not to spill!
– Sit down to drink your beautiful and healing Ayurvedic masala chai. Breath in the sweet scent and sip slowly.