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.
Winter comes, and the rains too, and colds and flu inevitably do the rounds. In India it is the monsoon time that is the worst. Luckily there are a range of drinks – chais and infusions – that at least alleviate the symptoms, and perhaps even shorten the length of the suffering.
A Karha, or Kadha, is an Ayurvedic drink made with herbs and spices that are simmered in water to extract their benefits. Karha are generally made with whole spices, herbs and other ingredients found in all Indian households, so they are inexpensive ways to strengthen immunity and fight infections.
One such herb is Tulsi, or Indian Holy Basil. It is a powerful herb in many respects. We have a number of recipes that make use of the properties of Tulsi.
In this recipe it is combined with the classic trio of spices called CCF – cumin, coriander and fennel, and it adds some cloves and cardamom as well. I know you will enjoy it, and it will help your cold if you have one. It also makes you feel incredibly warm and toasty. May you get well soon.
I do love a good cup of Chai, and now that the evenings are cooling I find myself making Chai rather than a herbal tea late at night. There are infinite ways of making Chai, and so far we have a dozen or so of them here. This one is a nice mix too, and I recommend that you try it.
The composition of Chai spices differs from region to region. For example, in Western Indian, cloves and black peppers are avoided. In Kashmir, green tea is used instead of black tea, and they include almonds, cardamom, saffron, cloves and cinnamon in their spice flavourings. In Bhopal a pinch of salt is added to the tea.
I read this heartfelt ode to Chai this morning.
Chai is relevant in any situation.
Guests are coming, make chai
Headache, make chai
Very far away, make chai
Death is coming, make chai
Make ginger chai – with ginger
Rain is coming – Make chai with Pakora
Do not get the blues – Make fennel chai
Make chai to avoid doing nothing !!
Some rhythm is probably lost in translation, but I get the point and love the little poem. How important chai is to everyday life in India. So, we have a different chai for you today – one with liquorice root. There is generally some on hand to make Yogi Chai, so when I saw a simple version of that chai using only liquorice, I leapt into action. It made a delightful afternoon Chai on the first cool day after a string of 40C (105F) days.
Liquorice is generally regarded as more as a medicinal herb than a flavoursome one in India, but if you love it as I do, there is nothing to stop you making this tea at any time. Otherwise, it is used to relieve sore throats, dry coughs or acidity in the stomach.
Tea is a big thing in Sri Lanka and is one of its main export crops. Drinking tea is a national pastime and it is served at any time of the day. Unlike South India, where tea is always milky, tea in Sri Lanka is either black or white, and sweetened with sugar or jaggery, and spices such as cinnamon or ginger can be added
Visitors are always served tea – perhaps this chai with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Rather than make it with milk in the South Indian way, this tea is made black and then evaporated milk is added to both sweeten and add a milky flavour. Who can resist?
We also love herbal teas, and you can explore our Tea recipes here.
A recipe that has formed a chain as it goes from one person to another
Fiona was a twitter friend some time ago. As often happens, life changes, and it had been some time since we have connected,. But a quick search located her in Berlin! Today I came across her recipe for Chai which she sent to me in 2009! It seems so long ago. Fiona made a note that this recipe was given to her by her friend Peta. I love how food and recipes create this chain of people across the world. I am now making you a link in the chain!
So, with great memories of Fiona, I made her chai again this afternoon. The recipe is for a mix, which you can then use to make your chai each day. It is unusual in that it includes dried orange peel and a vanilla bean as well as the usual spices.
You might like to browse our other Chai recipes – we have a few. Or explore our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our easy Mid Spring recipes. I hope you enjoy them.
Chai! The very word evokes a feeling of warmth and comfort, and brings back memories of chai’s past. What an important part of life chai is.
This is a Spring time Chai, with saffron and jasmine flowers. I hope you enjoy it.
Another wonderful Chai recipe
This is the chai recipe given to me by an Ayurvedic doctor from Pune, India. He would visit Sydney regularly to give courses and I was lucky enough to attend several of them.
His chai recipe is not dependent on ratios, just the ingredients. Mix them to your own taste preferences. The best way is to make a small jar of chai blend, and then use the mix to make your morning cuppa.
Tim says that
Chai is an art that must be discovered. The ingredients are the map but the combination is your own journey. The secret is in the intention of the heart.
It’s true, and there is much that you will discover as you make Chai. How to bring it together to get the best flavours. Which spices work best with your body. Which spices work best in the different seasons. Whether you have the patience to make chai well. Are you too impatient? How to keep yourself healthy with the combination of spices, and how to bring yourself back to health when you are out of balance. Which milk to use, whether you add ghee or coconut oil at all to your chai. Does a pinch of salt help? Which chai relaxes you and which invigorates you?
All of these and much more is just part of your individual Chai Journey.
Chai – a sweet, milky black tea with spices – begins the day for many Indian households. The spices and herbs added to the tea adds flavour but an oft-ignored benefit is that it also increases medicinal benefits. The daily supplement – better than popping a pill.
From Chai Masala, to a simple Chai with Ginger, the variations are endless. Here are some common ones to experiment with.
Because of the health giving properties of turmeric, we recommend adding a little turmeric to each cuppa chai that you make – about a pinch per cup.
Relax with a beautiful, health giving, herbal Chai
In many parts of India, tea is a daily preoccupation. But whereas in the West, tea is consumed as-is, with only perhaps some milk and sugar, it is common in India to brew it strongly with a range of spices and herbs. It is always served sweet and very milky.
Masala Chai and Cutting Chai are well known tea drinks, but every Indian family will have their own range of herbs and spices that they include. It is very common to use ginger, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, perhaps mint and Tulsi (Indian Holy Basil). I have heard of curry leaves being added. Lemongrass, vanilla, black pepper, fennel, nutmeg, tej pata (Indian Bay Leaves), ashwagandha leaf, pepper, galangal are other possible additions.
Today’s Chai is Tulsi and Mint with Cinnamon Chai. It was such beautiful winter weather this morning, I drank chai in the garden.
You might like to browse all of our Chai recipes here, and our general Tea recipes here. All of our drinks can be found here. Explore our Indian Recipes and our Indian Essentials. You might also enjoy our Late Summer recipes.
That quintessential roadside chai from Mumbai and throughout South India
Ah, how I miss the road side stalls in India and their piping hot Cutting Chai. Cutting is the transliteration of the Hindi word for half – Cutting Chai is served in half glasses (or smaller, often) as it has a strong flavour, and half a cup of this strong sweet liquid is enough to get you moving for the day! You have to buy it from the road side stalls – restaurants and hotels do not get the same taste.
The flavours are predominantly ginger and cardamon, simmered for some minutes with sugar so that the maximum flavour is extracted. The black tea, too, breaks every Western tea-brewing rule and is simmered for 5 or 6 minutes for the flavour extractions. Then milk is added to create this addictive drink.
Warming spices combined with tea – a classic Indian Chai
What a wonderful, warming drink this is! Pure relaxation – a cup of Masala Chai and allowing your mind to empty and drift across the universe.
Chai is an Indian spiced milk tea that is generally made up of a rich black tea, full cream milk, various spices and jaggery or other sweetener. The spices used vary from region to region in India, and even amongst households. The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Because of the spices, Chai produces a warming, soothing effect and gives one a wonderful sense of well being. Chai must have a sweetner added or the spices can’t share their full robust flavours. The sweetness brings out an intensity of flavour.
All of our Chai recipes are here, and our general Tea recipes here. Browse our other Teas and Coffees, and explore our Indian Recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our Mid Winter recipes.
Chai Masala – how beautiful at dawn on cold mornings, in the evenings of cooler days, and at any time with friends and a biscuit.
Chai can be made with a huge range of spices, herbs and tea leaves, so selecting one to meet your need, the weather, the time of day or your health concerns is quite easy. Check out our range of recipes.
This one is gingery and peppery, right up my ally! It is perfect for cold mornings – both of these spices will warm you up. But it is also perfect for helping you through your coughs and colds of winter. Drink it with abandon.
Expect a swathe of new Chai recipes now that the cooler weather comes. Not only do I adore Chai during the winter, it is a great help when suffering from a cold. Right now I have a head cold, so I am making chai and adding a good dose of turmeric to it. Have you also found that turmeric-laden chai makes a difference when you have a cold? It is my form of Golden Milk or Turmeric Latte which is quite fashionable at the moment.
The Tulsi in this Chai is also helpful for colds and flu.
As the name suggests, this chai is quite peppery – we do love a chai laced well with ginger and pepper. As the weather deepens, I take to adding powdered ginger for an extra sharp zing. Right now, though, in Mid Autumn, we are happy with using the fabulous fresh ginger we pick up from our Asian Grocery near-by.