For this chai, use the leaves of either the Ram Tulsi or the Krishna Tulsi (Tree Tulsi or Red/Shyama Tulsi). If you don’t have access to fresh tulsi you can also purchase Tulsi teabags in health shops, or use sweet basil or perennial basil leaves. I have even included some Thai Basil in this Chai. Surprisingly, these also taste very good and are relaxing. But use Tulsi if you can, it has many health benefits.
2 cups water
2 cup milk
2 teabags or 2 tspns black tea
1 Tblspn jaggery or brown sugar, or more if you are a sweet tooth
12 leaves of tulsi
2.5 cm ginger, finely grated (grating extracts more flavour than chopping)
3 – 4 cardamom pods, crushed well
2 black cardamom pods, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
Heat the water in a small saucepan. Place on high heat and bring to the boil.
Add the finely grated ginger, cinnamon and the green and black cardamom pods and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the tulsi leaves and stir. Bring back to the boil. Continue simmering for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring back to the boil and simmer 2 minutes.
Add the tea bags or tea leaves, stir, and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring periodically.
Add milk, enough to bring to your desired milkiness. Stir and bring back to a simmer, simmer for a 2 – 3 minutes (watching carefully) and then strain and pour into glasses or cups.
Serve with biscuits or Indian snacks. It’s great with samosas, pakoras, indian sweets, biscuits, chips or cake.
recipe notes and alternatives
Tulsi also makes a great tea. Check our our Phanta Tea, or make this recipe without the teabags and milk, and serve with rock sugar or honey.
I make Chai the long way, as I potter around in the kitchen. Feel free to shorten the steps if you are in a hurry.