Sunday, March 14, 2021

Carl's Chai


A new family tradition is our "Chai Time." My husband has been making chai tea from scratch. He grinds the spices with a mortar and pestle, and then steeps the loose tea leaves with soy or oatmilk so my vegan daughter can enjoy it, too.

Lots of folks on my Facebook page asked for the recipe, so here it is.

This is not a quick tea process. It's a ritual. It's worth the extra time to make it from scratch because it's as close to authentic Indian tea as you can get.

It's also one of the only foodie rituals that our whole family can enjoy. We have multiple diets going on (vegetarian, vegan, carnivorous, diabetic-friendly).

You could definitely add more sugar if you like it sweeter; we keep it on the low-sugar side.

Recipe for Carl's Chai


1 pinch fennel seeds

About 15 cardamom pods

4 peppercorns

2-3 allspice

3 coriander seeds

A sprinkle of nutmeg

2 pieces cinnamon sticks

Fresh ginger, 2 thin slices, lightly mashed

2-3 T. loose black tea

2-3 t. sugar, to taste

1-2 cups milk (full dairy, or dairy-substitute like soy or oatmilk)

About 1/4 cup water (to taste)

Mortar and pestle

Tea pot with strainer


1. Put fennel seeds, cardamom pods, allspice, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds in mortar and pestle and grind up. Add powdered spices, too.

2. Put slices of fresh ginger and ground-up spices into a pot on the stovetop. 

3. Add milk (dairy or dairy substitute) to the pot. If you want it less creamy, add a bit of water (1/4 cup). Simmer over medium heat. Do not boil.  

4. Put 3 teaspoons sugar (more or less to taste) at the bottom of a teapot with strainer.

5. Add the loose tea to the simmering pot on the stove. About 2 tablespoons.

6. Simmer 2 minutes, allow the tea to steep and darken the milk. It will become pink/orange. The darker the color, the stronger the tea.

7. Pour tea mixture into strainer in teapot. It will strain out the spices, and mix with the sugar in the bottom of the pot. Throw out spices, and mix the sugar and hot tea mixture together until sugar dissolves.

8. All done! Pour chai into tea cups.

Happy Tea Time! ☕️