The energy drink of Indian all over the world. Sharing my recipe for two cups of strong chai which takes less than 10 minutes to make.
I make chai every single day, yet I never took an effort to do a good photo shoot. The very reason I refrained from sharing the recipe here. This blog needs a chai recipe! 😄
Like most of you, I too used to do a 1:1 ratio of milk and water for my cup of chai for years, but it all changed after we moved to UAE. I was struggling to recreate and was failing miserably. The same brand of tea leaves that I am used to in Yanbu was not tasting the same here in UAE. I tried changing the milk brand and tried several different tea leaves, and yet we missed the taste we loved.
Around July 2019, one of my followers and a fellow chai lover shared a video from FoodFood's FB page. The video showed different types of Indian chai and I noticed they didn't use a 1:1 ratio! Now, that was very intriguing. As I have been failing to recreate my recipe in this new kitchen, I decided to give this a try. Man, it was a revelation! Chai, you are home. 😍
I had shared it on Insta Stories and highlights, and since then, so many of you switched to this recipe sharing the feedback that it tastes just like 1:1 but with lesser calories! Exactly! Why add more milk when you can get an excellent taste with lesser milk?
What is the water to milk ratio for chai?
The ratio of milk and water in tea is crucial for taste. For every cup of chai, use ¾ cup water and ¼ cup milk. Tea leaves are a personal preference, but I cringe and judge when I see someone sipping a milky light tea. ugh. So, how much tea powder for one cup of tea? I go with 2 to 3 teaspoons of tea leaves for every cup of chai regardless of the brand.
Which brand of tea leaves?
In the pursuit of finding the best tea leaves for chai, I found a few that can get the job done but are not quite there yet for us. Red Label mixed with Kannan Devan (not dust) was our thing until I found my lost love - Wagh Bhakri show up here. Thanks to a friend in Yanbu who generously gave me Wagh Bhakri packs. It was so good that we ditched Yellow Label (which was good in Saudi but tastes awful in UAE, no idea how that happens) Now, Wagh Bhakri is not always available, so I recently tried Society Tea that Rafeeda recommended and it is good too.
So my choice of tea leaves brands is Wagh Bhakri, Kannan Devan, Society, also Al Kbous - a Jordanian follower suggested while in Yanbu and it indeed was great. I don't buy premade masala tea leaves or likes of that but I am sure those are not bad either. I prefer to make my masala tea and this recipe is a base for that chai too.
Ingredients to use
- cardamom (optional)
- tea leaves
How do you make tea from scratch for two people?
So, how to make two cups of Indian tea with milk like a pro? Chai is always milk-based tea, so you can call it milk tea instead of chai tea. Check the video and recipe on how to make tea with milk for two.
Chai for Two
- 1½ cup water
- 1 pinch cardamom powder (optional)
- 4 teaspoons tea leaves (eg. wagh bhakri)
- ½ cup full-fat milk
- sweetener of choice
- Heat water in a deep saucepan on medium to high flame until you start seeing bubbles. (approx 3 mins). Maintain the same flame throughout the process. You may add crushed cardamom or your chai spice.
- Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of tea leaves. (4 being for strong chai)
- Bring this to a full rolling boil. (approx 2 mins). You may swirl the pan to make sure the tea leaves and water is mixed thoroughly or use a spoon to stir.
- Add ½ cup milk (you don't have to warm it.) The boiling will immediately stop but don't increase or reduce the flame at any point.
- Bring this to a boil and let it boil for a minute or until it reaches your preferred "strong" colour. (approx 2 mins). You may swirl the pan to make sure the milk fat doesn't stick to the bottom or use a spoon to stir.
- Strain the hot chai into a large mug with sugar or serve sugar separately.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Divide the prepared chai into two cups by pouring from a height to create froth.
- Serve with your favourite snacks.
If you have some time, then gawk at my chai stories!
Chai needs company - a person, a snack or you gazing outside by the window watching the birds or people. My comfort chai time would be the combo of Puttum Pazham and Chaiya. Let me know your comfort chai scene in the comments.