Einar’s Authentic Indian Chai Recipe

Einar’s Authentic Indian Chai
(Spiced tea)

11-12 cups of water
2 cups grated ginger (if coarse, otherwise 1.5 cups fine)
10 cinnamon sticks
large handful of cloves (2 heaping tbsp)
1 heaping tbsp cardamom seeds
approximately 2 handfuls black tea (1/2 cup)
1/2 gallon soy milk
approx 1/2 cup sugar (optional)

1. Boil water.
2. Add grated ginger. Boil 15 minutes.
3. During that 15 minutes, crush and add cinnamon sticks.
4. Crush and add cloves.
5. Crush cardamom seeds.
6. After the ginger/cinnamon/clove mixture has boiled for 15 minutes, add the crushed cardamom to the boiling water. Boil for another 2-3 minutes.
7. Add black tea. Boil for another 7 minutes. The tea mix is now complete. Strain. You can now put the tea mixture aside for use later. Refrigerate if overnight, then reheat.
8. In a separate pot, bring soy milk to the verge of boiling.
9. As soon as it is warm, add sugar. You can add additional sugar to taste, either now or after combining the sugar/milk mixture with the tea mixture.
10. Mix tea and milk, strain, and enjoy.

Makes enough for a LARGE crowd. You can cut down the recipe as needed.
A local Indian grocery would be a good (and cheaper) source for ginger in bulk and the spices. These stores also have cardamom seeds without their pods. It is a real pain to shell them. We like Bharat Bazaar (3680 El Camino Real California (CA) Phone: (408) 247 4308) at El Camino and Lawrence Exp in Santa Clara.

Additional notes:
… If you grind the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom (coffee grinders work very well), then use approximately 1/2 the amounts above.
… No need to peel the ginger before grating. Cuisinarts work very well.
… We prefer soy milk. You can use cow milk of your choice.
… Play with the amounts of the spices until it works for you.
… Use green tea or rooibos (South Aftrican red tea, no caffeine) if you want less/no caffeine.
* You can re-use the grounds if you like: just boil the water for longer (maybe 1.5 – 2 hours). The caffeine is much much less in the second set of chai, while the ginger gets a little stronger. We keep the second-boil in the fridge, then mix with milk and microwave. It keeps for a number of days.


One thought on “Einar’s Authentic Indian Chai Recipe

  1. K Balachandran

    This is a good recipe and well liked by everyone.

    However, it is way too complex and I want to submit something much simpler, especially if
    you want to make just 2-4 cups of chai at home and want this done in a few minutes.

    Also, “masala” chai could be all the spices in Einar’s recipe or just one or a few of them.

    Most popular in India is ginger tea which uses just ginger or cardamom tea which uses only cardamom.

    The way I make chai is to use water and milk in equal proportions. So, if you want two cups of chai, take 1 cup of water and add 1 cup milk.
    Whole milk is good but in America I get pushed to using 2%, 1% or even skim milk – ughh!

    Mix the water and milk in a container, put it on the stove and bring to a boil.

    Add a half inch fresh ginger, sliced into 1/8 inch “coins” or 4 pods of cardamom. Peeling 4 pods is not so bad.

    Dump the seeds and even the cardamom skin into the water/milk mixture. Add 2 teaspoons sugar.

    When the water/milk mixture comes to a boil,
    remove the utensil from the burner, put 2 tea bags into it (taj mahal tea is great – ah! Taj), cover and let steep for 5 minutes.

    Uncover, strain the chai into cups and enjoy.

    Tea bags are used even in roadside tea stalls in india these days because they are so much more
    convenient than tea leaves. As the jingle used to go when I was growing up in India – “dip, dip, dip. If you want the chai stronger,
    dip a little longer. dip, dip, dip”.

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