Chai is so ubiquitous nowadays in the UK. You’ve got chai latte, chai espresso, chai milkshakes, chai cakes, chai ice creams! It’s all a bit bonkers in my view for a simple cup of tea.
The recipe below is not to be confused with Masala Chai which has spices such as cinnamon and cloves within. This is my cousin Hetal’s recipe for chai which we had every morning when we visited her and the rest of the family Rajkot last summer.
One thing about chai recipes. They are passed down based on the ‘implement’ used by the individual to measure. My Dad uses a tea cup as a measure. My Mum the same. My Aunt uses a specific saucepan which is marked with levels for the water then the milk. You get the drift! My cousin Hetal uses a glass about 15cm high – so I guess you’d say a tumbler. It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as the ratio of water to milk is 2:1!
Also – making tea is a pastime. It’s a ritual. While the tea is simmering, you chat, you read, you prepare some vegetables – you do something because you’re looking at about half an hour of ‘timepass’!
And what will you drink it in? In Gujarat you will never be served tea in a cup. No. That was only for the British during the Raj. You will have it in a glass – steaming hot. The glass will be placed on a saucer so you can pour the tea out to cool it quickly so you can drink it. My father pours his morning chai into a cup but uses the saucer to slurp it up. Rituals.
So anyway. Here’s the ‘recipe’.
- Tea leaves of your choice – when we were little this used to be PG Tips so we could collect the monkey cards inside the boxes!
This recipe makes 4 -5 cups
Put one full glass of water (or two tea cups full) into a saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea. Add 4- 5 teaspoon of sugar and let it boil – yes yes I know it’s a lot but this is for 4-5 people. Add half a glass of milk (or one tea cup full) and bring it back to the boil on a gentle heat.
Watch it carefully! I have been slapped many a time for letting it boil over and having to start again! Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down further and let it simmer – the longer you leave it, the stronger it will be.
Strain into a glass or tea cup and enjoy with some peace and quiet (like my Dad) or some chitter chatter like my cousin Hetal! Whichever implement you choose there will no doubt be an aaaaah as you take your first slurp.