3.6/5 rating (37 votes)


Spiced tea

  • Heat None
  • Serves 4
  • Cook 15 mins

Chai is the Indian beverage, always served in a short glass, all day and every day throughout India.

Hari says

It's sold by the cheery chai-wallah from street corners to train stations to open air chai shops, as well as being brewed up in every home. Truly authentic Indian chai is very different from what's served in certain UK coffee chains, as that is diluted down to suit the English pallet.

But you have to try the original version! Traditional chai is thick and creamy and usually made with Buffalo milk, loose black tea leaves, cardamom, cloves and lots and lots of sugar. There are so many different versions of chai, some made with cinnamon (in India this is made for people you really love) right through to adding fresh ginger and even fennel.

In India, I can remember being woken up to the voices shouting 'garam garam chai' or 'hot hot tea'. Before handing you a glass, there is the amazing cooling down ritual which is just beautiful to watch. The chai-wallah expertly pour the steaming hot tea from one cup to another at such speed that it looks like an elastic band being stretched and relaxed. Drunk with a plate of spiced potatoes and a plain parantha is just amazing and something you have to try.

  • Ingredients
  • Method
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp tea leaves or 2 tea bags
  • 3 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • approx. 100ml milk

To make Ginger Chai

  • 3cm fresh ginger, grated  


  1. Place water in a small pan.
  2. Add the cardamoms, cloves and fennel (and ginger if making ginger tea) and heat the water.
  3. Bring to the boil and leave for 2-3 minutes so the spices infuse into the water.
  4. Add the tea and sugar. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the milk (the tea should be a light caramel colour). Turn the heat up and bring back to the boil. Just before it boils reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for about 5 minutes to intensify. (Be careful as it can boil over very quickly.)
  6. Remove from the heat and strain the tea into small glasses.

Nutritional information

Typical values* per Serving
Fat (g)1
of which saturates (g)0
Carbohydrates (g)10
of which sugars (g)4
Fibre (g)3
Protein (g)2
Salt (mg)23
*Based upon calculated values, supplied by myfitnesspal.com. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated.

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Comments (4)

  • Gemma Green

    Gemma Green

    02 September 2020 at 11:30 |
    Thank you for the recipe, although I don’t make this daily as takes a little more effort than English tea, it is my go to when I’m feeling run down and soon perks me right back up again. I use your lentil Dahl recipe too amazing thank you Hari.


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      08 September 2020 at 11:28 |
      Hi Gemma so good to know you are enjoying the recipes! Sweet Indian chai with a spice pakora is heaven!


  • Lyle


    15 November 2016 at 13:33 |
    Hi! I'd like to add some cinnamon. Is it best using a stick or ground? And would I still keep the fennel seeds?
    Thanks! Recipes are amazing!


    • Hari Ghotra

      Hari Ghotra

      15 November 2016 at 16:48 |
      Hi Lyle I would go for stick cinnamon rather then ground and yes keep the fennel seeds. Hope its nice and thanks for using the website and glad you are enjoying the recipes. Cheers Hari


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Hari Ghotra