A Recipe for Indian Ginger Tea

New! Video added!

One of our favorite things about India is the delicious tea you can find everywhere. Chai wallahs can be found on just about every corner throughout the country. “Chai” is the Hindi word for tea and “wallah” is a term used to describe anyone engaged in a particular occupation or activity. In the case of the chai wallahs, these men have mastered the art of tea preparation. People have their favorite stand which they exclusively patronize. Suhail shot some video of two chai wallahs he visited in Tiruvallur. These guys are pretty impressive!

If you are invited into an Indian home, you will be offered (or just served) tea within minutes of walking through the door. Tea is a big deal in India and it is almost always delicious (though perhaps a bit sweet for some palates). Often the tea will be served in a small metal cup that has been placed in a slightly larger metal dish. The tea is always served incredibly hot, so you are meant to take the cup (remember, it is metal and the tea has been heated to what will feel like 1 million degrees) and pour an arching stream of tea into the dish. You continue pouring the tea back and forth between the two vessels until it has cooled to the desired temperature. This ritual is a bit daunting at first, but actually one of my favorite parts of the ritual.

I finally asked Suhail’s cousin, Clarissa, for a lesson in making Indian tea and as the chill sets in where many of you live, I thought I’d share her delicious ginger tea recipe (this yields enough for 3 servings, but can easily be scaled).

Indian Ginger Tea

2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 inch piece of ginger, grated (for cardamom tea, you can substitute cardamom pods that you have crushed in a mortar & pestle or it is also delicious to include both)
4 tsp sugar

Boil all of the above together in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan or pot until the mixture smells very fragrant. Keep an eye on it (you will enjoy this tea a lot more if you don’t end up with scalded milk cooked onto your stovetop)!

Add:
3 Tbs loose tea leaves (we used a mixture of 1 Tbs each green, black and Taj Mahal limited edition teas)

Boil until strength of tea suits your taste. If necessary, adjust sugar and/or milk.
Sit back and enjoy!