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One thing I think people should get it right. Chai is originally a tea drink made & is popularly consumed all over in India. You will get this version of tea in every city /village across the country. Now it has become global. It’s creamy milky tea flavored with some masala (spices) readily available in any Indian pantry. However, the author got this recipe almost correct. Cheers to that!
I added ginger and nutmeg. What a delicious recipe!
Who drinks tea tea? There is no need to place chai in front of tea. As chai is literally tea.
You drink chai tea with tuna fish on challah bread! But yes, Chad, you make a good point. “Chai” means tea, but to those who didn’t grow up drinking Masala Chai, any Chai is Masala Chai.
I didn’t know Chai meant tea so I for one am glad she added the word tea. :)
Oh, wow! Heavenly! A real treat! Yummy! Thank you!
Substitutions:1. Coconut milk (dairy milk completely blocks the antioxidants from the tea and spices from being absorbed)–the Chai tasted just like dairy milk!2. Didn’t have Whole Allspice, so I searched and found that 6-7 whole berries = a heaping 1/4 tsp of Ground Allspice.3. Didn’t have Cardamom Pods, so I searched and found that each pod = 12 seeds.4. Didn’t have White Peppercorns, but I believe I remember being told, in cooking school, that White Peppercorns are just Black Peppercorns which have had the outer layer removed (looks better in a Veloute or other White Sauce ), so I happily used the Black Peppercorns I did have.
Glad you liked the chai, and also glad you are agile in making substitutions. It’s an important skill!
Like you, I was told in cooking school that white peppercorns are simply black peppercorns with their outer skins removed. But that’s not wholly true. White pepper is also fermented, which gives it a musky taste and aroma. You can read more here. But I prefer black peppercorns in chai, as they are fruitier.
I wasn’t sure, but I suspected it might’ve been wrong (like “cold water reaches boiling faster than warm water” or that we need to treat cornstarch, as a binder, the way we treat egg yolks (can’t add stuff after it binds))–thank you very very much! I will definitely be finding some White Peppercorns now!
2. You could make a mix of peppercorns–White and Black (perhaps also red and green),50/50 White and Mixed–so you get both that musk and the fruitinesss. Maybe you’ve tried already?
How do we edit our replies? I keep making errors. Lol
I finally got to try it with White Peppercorns and it is SO much better. Thank you for correcting me–it made me go out and buy the White Pepper :)
I also really enjoyed it with both Ground White and Black Peppercorns. I may try it with the multi-colored (Red, Green, Black) Peppercorns mix next, but I think my favorite is with just White Peppercorns.
Also, I really like Cardamom so I bump it up to 1/8 tsp for the batch.
Also, I injured myself using a high powered Rife machine (turned it up too high, burned my brain), and had been having headaches for the two weeks since the incident, and this Chai (perhaps also a Curry I’ve been preparing) took the inflammation / pain away!
Delicious! Try with hot white chocolate!!
Where’s the ginger??!?!!
True, almost all the Indian masala chai recipes I’ve seen call for ginger. But I noticed that the recipe Elise shares comes from her friend who was in South Africa…and Elise herself tells us of first enjoying chai in Hong Kong.
So in a way, this post is about how recipes become global: immigration, plus good ideas travel (especially in out times). This inevitably means those ideas get tweaked according to local customs and ingredient availability. If you’re looking for a recipe with ginger, try this one (I’ve not had it).
Thanks for commenting!
Delicious!I used hemp milk.
Delicious. I did not have star anise and white pepper. I used more cardamom and while black peppers. I also used 5 cups of almond milk
❤️ My new obsession! Best potpourri so don’t throw out the finished tea.
I just found this recipe. Love it!
I have to tell you that I, too, stayed at Chungking Mansions about the same time you were there. Only made that mistake once!
Hah! Right? Wildly optimistic interpretation of the word “mansion.”
I love this recipe! So funny to hear you both experienced a stay at Chungking Mansions. I was there in 2000. I felt so uncomfortable that I checked out and walked in FULL tears straight to the Hyatt. I was a backpacking traveler; used to budget accommodation, but Chungking Mansion was something else. The chai would have been a bright light!
I used to take 2-3 cups of ‘Irani Chai’ when I was in Hyderabad. I just made it and am enjoying every sip.
Thank you Elise.
I can highly recommend this recipe especially with good quality Orange Pekoe tea leafs. Best served with soy milk and a little honey.
This recipe is amazing, but I would change one thing. Add 1 more cardamom pod to make it spicier a little.
oops! I forgot the sugar in the above post. You need to add about 3 tablespoons sugar to the pot when you add the milk. Use more or less depending on your tastes.
Just thought I’d add my recipe too. I make a pot every morning now instead of coffee.
I add two black tea bags to a 2/3 full medium saucepan of water. I add 4 crushed cardamom seeds and about 10 crushed cloves using a mortar/pestle. Finally I add a small piece of cinnamon bark. Let this come to a boil for about 10 minutes. Then add enough milk according to how creamy you’d like the tea. Let come to a boil once more– careful to watch the pot so it does not overflow (it boils again pretty fast). I then transfer tea using strainer to a stainless steel teapot that can be kept warm on the stove. It sounds complicated at first but it probably takes about the same time to make a pot of coffee. Also this makes about 4 cups of tea. We get our cloves, cardamom and cinnamon at the Indian grocer. My husband is Indian and I am proud to say that my mother-in-law really enjoys my tea! It’s the only Indian “dish” I’ve become accomplished at so far. Enjoy.
I am a big fan of Chai and have never tried making it myself. It is getting pretty expensive to buy chai every morning. But I love it so much and it is really the best way to start my day. I don’t want to wake up an extra hour early to cook a recipe fresh every morning. Is there a way I can make this once a week and then heat a thermos full every morning as I run out the door? Or am I just spoiling myself too much?
Hi Martha, why don’t you make a batch like you would ice tea, and then just heat it in the morning? Just don’t leave the tea leaves and spices in what you store, strain them out first.
Thanks for the great recipe! I made this tonight just as you described (skim instead of whole milk) and it was delicious. I will try again tomorrow when I can get some whole milk since I am familiar with a creamier chai.
Where do you get white peppercorns? I have checked several different health food/bulk spice stores within a 50-mile radius and no one sells them.
Hi Lisa, Penzey’s is always a good source for spices. You can also find white pepper for sale on Amazon.
Long time reader… first time commenter. I love your blog. Many a yummie meals thanks to you!
Having grown up in India, I find something odd about everyone’s recipes for Chai. Namely, when you add the tea leaves. In India, and most Indian families I know here in the States, the spices (as per your likes/discretion) are first simmered in water. Next the tea is added to the water and simmering continues for 5 to 10 minutes. Only after the tea has reached it’s desired strength is the milk added.
When tea is added to milk instead of being steeped or simmered in water first, it creates a drink called “Doodh Phathi” which roughly translates to: milk with tea leaves, traditionally served in the evening.
When the tea leaves are added to milk, the fats and proteins in the milk prevent the “proper” release or leeching of flavors of the tea from the leaf. I use quotations for proper, because the desired taste for Chai that one want from tea leaves is different than the flavors from the tea leaf one desires for Doodh Phathi.
All the best, and look forward to some more great meals!
Keep up the great work.
I agree with Sanjeev… this is my understanding as well – teas are unable to fully steep in milk. Other tea latte drinks call for steeping in water, and then incorporating in heated milk after steeping.
Thanks Simply Recipes & Sanjeev :)
I just tried this recipe right now with the following changes because I know how I like my chai :)
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon bark chips
1 teaspoons ginger chips dried
1/2 vanilla bean pod
All else as Elise has it except I used soymilk–no dairy allowed here. It was FABULOUS! Very much like the Oregon Chai flavor.
Thanks for the recipe Elise!