Family Chai Recipe

The hardest part about making chai might be getting someone to give you a precise recipe. Every family has its own recipe that consists of “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” One person will tell you not to include cloves, while another will tell you that there should be a lot of cinnamon. But after a lot of digging, phone calls, and trial and error, I was able to get my family recipe down on paper. And since chai differs even more greatly from region to region, we’ll just call this a Gujurati cha* recipe.

What You Need for the Masala:
3 tbsp. black pepper
2 tbsp ginger powder
2 tbsp cardamom powder
1/2 tbsp clove
1 tbsp cinnamon

What to Do for the Malasa:
Whether you grind the black pepper, cardamom, clove and cinnamon fresh or you use pre-powdered spices, mix all of these plus the ginger powder together and store in an airtight container. In total, you should have about 3/4 cup of this masala. For each cup, you will only be using about an 1/8 teaspoon.

What You Need for the Tea:
1/8 tsp chai masala
½ cup milk (whole or 2%. If using skim milk, use a little more milk and a little less water)
½ cup water
½ tbsp loose leaf black tea or 1 black tea packet
¼ tsp fresh grated ginger (optional**)
Sugar to taste

What to Do for the Tea:
In a pot, add water, milk, tea, masala and ginger and bring to a boil.

Once it has come to a boil, let it boil for a minute, then place the lid on the pot, take it off the heat and let it sit for five minutes. Strain, add sugar and serve.

*    cha is the Gujurati word for chai
**  you can add fresh ginger whenever you like, but typically in India, this is a winter thing.

About the Author

Currently based out of Boston, Jesal is a blogger, freelance writer, yoga enthusiast and lifelong vegetarian who spent four years eating her way through New York City and various other cities around the globe. After answering hundreds of emails and phone calls answering the question, "Where's a cool place I can take my vegetarian friend out to eat" she started Veggiewala to efficiently share her knowledge of the vegetarian food scene with curious carnivores, flexitarians and other vegetarians.