Tea Time!

Growing up in a Punjabi family, I  always enjoys chai on weekend afternoons. Chai is a milky tea made from chai masala, a mix of  indian spices boiled and steeped in water.  Served at social gatherings as a sign of hospitality, or after meals chai is now available in mainstream coffee shops, such as Starbucks and  Second Cup, in the form of  chai lattes. But the store-bought stuff is never as good as the homemade tea my dad always makes!

One can  also purchase store-bought chai masala in powdered form: the mix include the spices listed below ground up in addition to other spices, such as ginger. Mix the powder into your tea and milk mixture and boil as usual. But I’ll be honest, often chai masala’s are very bold and pungent in taste. So my  family makes a milder version of the tea adaptable to more people’s palettes. Here is my family’s recipe for  chai, which I have inherited,  I hope you enjoy it!

If you’re a coffee person, still give this recipe a try  as a treat-like break from your  coffee routine.


Makes 2 cups of chai

1 glass water

1 glass milk

1 orange pekoe teabag

4 cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon fennel

1 clove

small piece of a cinnamon stick

sugar to taste


1. Fill a small pot with 1 cup of water and place on the stove at medium heat to simmer.

2. Crush the cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, and cloves with mortar and pestle and  put into the pot of water.

3. Next, put fennel seeds into the pot of water as well and bring the spices and  water to boil. About 5 minutes.

4. Once the water is fully heated through and bubbling, add in the  teabags and bring to boil. About 7 minutes.

5. Pour in milk into  tea water and  simmer until tea starts to boil. Remove tea from stove top before boils over.

6. Sweeten to taste. I usually just put half a spoon of sugar in my tea, but it really just depends on how much sweetness you like.

Serve immediately with your favourite tea time snacks.  South Asian tea time favourites include short bread, indian sweets such as  gulab jaman and lady fingers, and salty snacks, such as  samosas. Visit your local South Asian grocer for these specialty items.