Adrak Elaichi ki Chai Recipe | Ginger Cardamom Flavored Indian Tea Recipe

I grew up drinking Bournvita in India, then Milo in Bangkok, and Ovaltine here in US every morning for breakfast.  Although the men in my family needed their individual style of tea twice a day, it seldom made me want to drink.  Individual style, oh yes – one wanted his tea with condensed milk, one wanted with more milk, one wanted with less milk.

Ginger and Cardamom Flavored Tea with cookies
Ginger and Cardamom Flavored Tea with cookies

I started forming the habit of drinking tea every day in my trip to India last year.  I slowly understood what some people meant when they said, “I become very restless if I don’t get my tea.”  And I have since started liking my adrak aur elaichi wali chaiginger and cardamom flavored tea.  Plain tea without ginger or cardamom?  Nah, not my type.  

Indian Tea is simply called CHAI not Chai Tea
Indian Tea is simply called "CHAI" ... not "Chai Tea"

Here is my version and this is how I make tea regularly
[On another note, here is one of my unforgettable memories on tea-making experience ten years ago]

Recipe for Adrak Elaichi ki Chai (Ginger and Cardamom Flavored Indian Tea)
Makes: tea for two

What you need to make tea for two people:
½ cup water
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp ginger* (adrak), grated or pounded
2 cardamom (elaichi), pounded**
     OR ¼ tsp cardamom powder
1½ tsp tea leaves (chai patti)
1½ Tbsp sugar, or to taste

How I make Ginger Cardamom Tea:
Add water in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat.  While the water heats up, add ginger, pounded cardamom (or cardamom powder), and tea leaves.  While the tea brews, add milk and sugar.  Let the concoction boil and rise up once.  Quickly remove pan from heat for 2 seconds, then put it back on and let the mixture rise up again instantly then switch off heat.

Letting the tea brew and rise up in Hindi it is called chai mein ubaal laana
Letting the tea brew and rise up - in Hindi it is called "chai mein ubaal laana"

Using a sieve, strain this light brown colored, piping hot Indian style ginger and cardamom flavored tea into a cup and enjoy each sip.

recipe for Indian Tea good for one person
tea recipe for one person

* If you do not want to use fresh ginger, you can make ahead and freeze cubes of ginger paste for tea.

** If you do not have mortar and pestle to pound cardamom, you can put cardamoms in a Ziploc and pound with a rolling pin or something heavy and store excess in your pantry.

mortar and pestle for pounding cardamom
I use this mortar and pestle primarily for pounding cardamom; hence doesn't need to be washed everyday
Q:  What to do with the boiled strained tea leaves (chai patti)?
Throw away.  Some people may reserve it to add water and milk to boil and drink tea again, but over boiling of tea leaves is harmful for health. You should neither let the tea leaves brew in water for too long, nor reuse them to drink another round of tea.  My mom used it as a compost for her plants.

boiled strained tea leaves called chai patti in hindi
boiled, strained tea leaves - chai patti

Q:  Why is this recipe of Indian tea different from the rest?
Everyone has their own preference of tea – more milk, less milk, equal amount of water and milk, no milk, no ginger or cardamom, light tea, dark tea, or tea with chai masala.  Chai Masala (powdered spices for Indian tea) can be bought from the store [I like Everest brand] or can be made at home by grinding the spices – like cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns, dried ginger, etc together.  That is why this kind of tea with those spices is called Masala Chai, but I do not like my tea with chai masala.

tea time snack time with ginger and cardamom chai
tea time, snack time

Q:  Do I really have to follow these proportions for making tea?
Once you start making tea on a regular basis, you will not need (and should not even bother) to follow the recipe of tea with measurements.  But remember that if you put excess ginger though it may help clear your throat but it will be pretty strong.  If you put excess tea leaves, the tea will be very dark in color and taste bitter.  If you put too much cardamom powder, you may not like the strong aroma and taste.

KHAARI light feathery crispy flaky puff biscuits
KHAARI - light, feathery, crispy, flaky, puff biscuits

Q:  What are good accompaniments to the Indian Chai?
When you visit people in India, they mostly offer tea along with snacks any time of the day.  So basically any kind of snacks go along well.  Although tea can be drank on its own – mathri (salted Indian biscuits)tea rusk (dried bread), namak paare (savory bites) , khaari (flaky puffs, pictured above), cookies, butter biscuits, jeera biscuits, samosa, kachori, or even poha(flattened rice) are good options.

What's your style?
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  1. I was always wondering why western people call it 'tea tea' while one 'tea' is good enough.
    A lovely chai!

    1. And I also wonder why 'paneer cheese', 'naan bread', 'dal soup'... :D
      Thanks Angie :)

  2. I'd already posted the way I make tea on my blog... have never tried my milk tea with ginger, have always wanted to though... I like my tea to be nice and creamy, and I always make it with milk powder, as I don't like the taste of "milk" in my tea (?), can't explain it better... I love my Horlicks most of the time, and tea is reserved for times when I 'really' want it... :) love reading ur posts...

    1. Milk, condensed milk, milk powder...i am beginning to understand people's preferences with tea :D
      Thanks Rafeeda!! :)

  3. I only drink Milo when I am sick. Coffee starts my day but I love tea in between. This is another way of infusing flavors into tea and gonna try soon.

    1. Looks like milo trumps coffee or tea during bad times :D
      Thanks Nava!

  4. I make masala tea with ginger and caradmom, I add more milk and boil them.

  5. Love this tea and its one of my fav. Prefect evening drink when the climate is dull and dark.

  6. I am not a tea/coffee person either but i dont mind it occasionally. though i make it for the other members of my family, i still gte confused about the water to milk proportions :D.. either there is excess tea or shortage ! bw look the biscuit in the main photo.. what are those?? ( one is bakarwadi i am guessing?)

    1. you cook so many other great dishes but get confused to make tea? i don't believe you! :D

      not bhakarwadi...those biscuits: one is pinwheel cookies and the other cashew cookies [both made at home] :)

  7. loved the biscuit is what i meant not look the biscuit :P

  8. Wow can feel the flavor of ur tea.... N what are those biscuits... Looks lovely

  9. Ginger-cardamom tea is my favourite but I make it in a little different way. I like my tea to be strong.


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