Elaichi Chai – Indian Cardamom Tea

Tea or chai is like a breath of fresh air. It is one of those refreshing drinks that will get you addicted in no time at all! Almost every Indian, starts their day with a cup of rejuvenating chai and more often than not ends it on that note too. Its recipe is simple and most Indian housewives and cooks are so used to making it. Since, chai is a hot beverage, you would think that people would want a break from it in the summers, but that is so not the case. It continues to be a cup of nectar irrespective of the time and season.

Preparation time: 1 minute
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2 cups

1 1/2 cups water
2/3rd cup milk (you can use skimmed milk)
2-3 pods green cardamom seeds
2 teaspoons sugar
2 heaped teaspoons loose tea leaves
The steps are easy and convenient to follow. However, the amounts of milk and water may vary in the tea according to personal preference. Some people like their chai to be watery while others like it milky. This will finally be the deciding factor of making tea and the quantity of the ingredients.

Take the milk in a pot or some other boiling utensil. Add to it water and sugar. Boil it a little and then add the cardamom and tea leaves. Keep boiling the mixture till it takes a beautiful reddish brown hue, the typical colour of chai. Once the chai is ready you shall be able to smell the aroma of the tea leaves around you. Take the pot off the gas and strain the mixture into two cups. Voila! Your elaichi chai is ready to be served. People generally prefer cups of tea with light snacks like biscuits, wafers or traditional Indian pakodas.

Masala chai
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2 cups

4 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons black tea
The steps are pretty much the same. Ground the ginger and cinnamon stick in a mortar. Boil the water and milk with sugar in a pot. Then add the ground ginger, cardamom, tea leaves and other spices to it. Let the entire mixture boil for a little while longer. Once it has obtained the colour and is giving off a delicious aroma, strain it into a teapot or individual cups.

Tips to follow
There are a number of mistakes that one can make, even in this simple recipe! For example many people boil the mixture for a long time after adding the tea leaves. This makes the chai bitter, because of the burnt tea leaves. Again, some people like their tea sugary, while others like it bland. So you will have to alter the recipe from person to person.

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