CHAI: traditional yogi style.

January 20, 2012

I'm not a "need to have my CHAI everyday, or else..." type of person, but nothing beats a good cup of chai on a cold day... sitting with a steamy mug listening to the drumming of the rain....what could be better!  Indian chai is made by boiling water, milk and black tea, with spices like ginger and cardamom (very different from an American chai latte). However, just like everything else in the cooking world, there are many different variations on chai. The recipe I made today I learned from my meditation teachers, Shri Anandi Ma and Dileepji....I'll call it "Chai: traditional yogi style". However, the method for adding ingredients, boiling time, and types of spices can vary wildly, and half the fun is trying to find your favorite. Love cardamom? Well, then add some extra! Boil it longer, shorter, make it stronger or weaker, or throw in some new spices and see what happens. Unless you have dietary restrictions I would recommend using cow’s milk. I have tried making chai with soy milk and coconut milk, but it's just not the same.  The other important ingredient is the tea itself. You can use regular black loose leaf tea, but if you can find an Indian grocery store where you live try to get your hands on tea that is meant for chai. I like Red Label Tea. As for chai’s not absolutely necessary (as you'll see from the recipe below), but chai masala definitely comes in handy on days when you don't have fresh ginger or cardamom on hand...however, store-bought masalas vary greatly, so you might have to go through a few before you find one that's right for you. 

Chai: traditional yogi style (2 cups)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon, ground
  • optional: sugar to taste ( I personally like 1-2 teaspoons...depending on the size of the mug)
  1. In medium size pot, bring water, cardamom and ginger to a boil.
  2. When the water starts to simmer add the tea and stir, then add the milk. 
  3. Bring to a boil again, watching the pot carefully. If you don’t, you’ll learn the hard way...I can attest that it's no fun to clean up boiled over chai.
  4. Simmer for a few minutes or until the color looks matches how strong you like your chai.
  5. Strain into cups.
  6. Add sugar to taste. 
  • Make with milk substitute of your choice (just realize it will taste different than cow's milk).
  • It’s gluten free! Drink up!
  • When it's cold out, more ginger (and other warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, etc) will help warm you up. And in the summer, adding fresh mint (add when you add the ginger and cardamom) it will help keep you stay cool...and it makes it taste so de-lish!

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