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Hot and Spicy Indian Chai

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 Recipes

Who doesn’t love a hot and spicy cup of Cha (Chai Tea) in rainy Vancouver, Chai is a delicious way to feel warm and relaxed.  After serving Traditional chai for over 2 years we have always tried to learn customer preferences and their most favorite spices. We also have a few customer who have traveled all over Indian and feel we serve the best chai in Vancouver. Taking all the tiny detail into consideration at Palki Vancouver location we serve 3 chai tea varieties.

  • Cardamom (Flavors mostly contributed from stone grinded roasted cardamom with hints of ginger and Darjeeling Chai tea Leaves)
  • Ginger (Carefully brewed with mashed ginger with hints of black pepper & Assam Chai tea Leaves) and
  • Masala (A unique combination of flavors with  8 spices: Cardamom, Fresh ginger, Cloves, Black pepper, Cinnamon, Assam chai tea leaves & Star anise).

Indian Chai or Cha means “Tea” in many South Asian languages. There are different variations to it but the basic chai consists of boiling water with loose leaf tea in it to which milk is added and brought to boil and served hot immediately. In Vancouver the word “Chai Tea Latte” is used to refer it as a milky tea beverage.

The History of Chai

The history of chai dates back to 5000 years ago.  There are different stories and myths about history of chai with some linking it to an Indian king inventing it and the Chinese version of the same story with Emperor Shen Nong’s discovery of tea.

Chai’s roots can also be traced back to Ayurveda with its concoction having health benefits to boost natural healing system. Tea plantations have been present in India since antiquity, but Indians considered it as an herbal medicine which was supposed to be had with spices in it without any addition of milk or sugar.

It all changed under the British rule of India as they became concerned with Chinese monopoly on tea and began cultivation within India with regions as Assam already known for its natural tea plantations and started a system of tea breaks for workers in India which increased consumption of tea.

Variations to Chai

There are different variations to preparing chai and can be termed differently according to the spices, herbs, sweetener or tea leaves used to prepare it.

  1. Spices: Masala chai is an example where mixed spices are added during preparation of chai. It includes cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, saffron and pepper. A particular spice can be used to make chai and it can be termed and served as Elaichi (Cardamom) chai or Ginger chai.
  2.  Tea: The kind of tea bags or leaves used can also change the flavor of chai. Black Assam chai tea leaves is the most used one but black Darjeeling chai tea leaves can also be used to make chai. Gunpowder tea is used to make Kashmiri chai.
  3.  Sweetener: Chai can be sweetened by jaggery, cane sugar, demerara sugar or honey.

 Recipe for Indian Chai

  • 2 cups water
  • 1cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons black tea (Assam tea)
  • Spices: You can flavor your chai with spices you like.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Crush all spices(Crushing stone preferred) and transfer it to a saucepan, add water and bring to boil.
  2. Add tea leaves and milk when water is boiling and let it boil for 2 to 3 mins.
  3. Remove the sauce pan from heat and sugar can be added or served on the side.
  4.  Stir and strain chai into a warmed tea pot or directly into tea cups.