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Homemade Chai Recipe

Want to make great chai? The key is in the spice.

Even though it’s easy to find ready-to-drink chai in grocery stores, chef and author Maneet Chauhan recommends brewing it from scratch using fresh spices, “because the result is much more flavorful and robust,” she writes in the newly released book Chaat, co-authored with Jody Eddy. “Either black or green tea can be used depending upon your strength preference, but traditional Indian chai is made with black tea from Assam. Black tea results in bolder-tasting notes, while green tea leads to a milder flavor.”


Yield:8 cups
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 8 cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled with a spoon and coarsely chopped
  • 6 to 8 black or green teabags (depending on strength and tea preference)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Pinch of table salt


Combine the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and peppercorns and crush them together using the back of a wooden spoon on a clean work surface or on a plate or by using a mortar and pestle in order to release their flavors. Transfer the crushed spices to a saucepan, add the ginger and 6 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 8 to 10minutes.

Add the tea bags and remove the pan from the heat. Steep at room temperature for 5 to 7 minutes, depending upon how strong you like your tea. I would recommend brewing your tea a bit stronger than you usually do because the milk and sugar will dilute its potency.

Remove the tea bags and then add the sugar, milk, and salt. Return to a simmer over high heat while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat just after it comes to a simmer, strain into cups, and serve hot.

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