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Food & Beverages

10 Takes On Your Classic Chai, You Have To Try!

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - May 21, 2021 10 min read

The eternal face-off between coffee cravers and tea lovers in India, will in all likelihood, never reach a conclusion. Mostly because the comparison isn't fair. Yes, there are several undeniable merits that endorse a cup of coffee as an ideal morning drink, the majority of which centre around the energy-inducing effect of caffeine. But ask any Indian at the end of a hectic Monday first-half, or on a late rainy afternoon, or even during the evening after wrapping up a workday, and you'll be quick to realise that tea is more than just a beverage to most Indians. 

 

A cup of chai is a cup of comfort. A cup of chai is the friend that whisks us away for a break, when we're overwhelmed with work. A cup of chai is the honeypot that brings family members and family banter together during summer evenings. So really, a cup of chai is much more than just that, a cup of hot beverage. Chai is a religion in India, and we, the loyal devotees. So much so, even our Prime Minister is known for selling the beverage at some point! 

 

Well, we felt that it doesn't get more auspicious than the occasion of International Tea Day, to celebrate the longest-running love affair in most of our lives. If the image of a "kadak adrak waali chai" is enough to get your heart racing beyond measure, we are sure you'd love some interesting takes on the classic Indian hot drink. So, come along, as I take you through these 10 unusual chai recipes you need to try, as a proud member of the tea fan base in India. 

 

1. Kesar Masala Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_kesar_masala

Image Courtesy - YouTube

 

One of the most comforting takes on the staple chai, this recipe comes with subtle Saffron flavours and enticing spices. The addition of Kesar gives this Chai a serene orange colour along with the ability to subdue symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as enhance healthy weight loss. The recipe results in a royal looking cup of tea, packed with relaxing aromas and an exotic chai taste. 

 

Ingredients 

  • Tea Powder 
  • 10 Saffron Strands
  • Crushed Ginger 
  • Cardamon Powder
  • Cinnamon 
  • Ground Pepper 
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste) 

 

Chai These Steps

  • Pour water into the utensil 
  • Add saffron strands, cardamom powder, pepper, cinnamon stick and bring to boil
  • Add tea leaves and boil for 3-4 minutes
  • Add milk
  • Add sugar and stir well. Let it come to a rolling boil
  • Turn the heat to low, and boil for another 7-8 minutes
  • Strain the tea into cups and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen 

 

 

2. Kashmiri Noon Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_kahsmiri_noon_chai

Image Courtesy - Food & Wine Magazine

 

This slightly time-consuming chai recipe comes with a creamy, buttery and rich flavour, and results in a pink concoction that looks and smells heavenly, in equal measure. A delicious chai variety originating from the stunning land of Kashmir, a cup of noon chai is nothing short of a milky dessert, packed with a comforting taste and texture. 

 

Ingredients 

  • Tetley Long Leaf
  • Green Tea
  • Baking Soda
  • Cardamon Powder
  • Saffron Strands 
  • Salt 
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste)

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Bring 1 cup of water to boil and add tea leaves
  • Add baking soda and whisk for 10 seconds
  • Add remaining water with cardamom powder and brew 
  • Turn heat to medium and add milk 
  • Add salt and stir well
  • Strain into a cup, garnish with saffron strands and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - Archana's Kitchen

 

 

3. Golden Turmeric Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_turmeric_golden_chai

Image Courtesy - Fusion Teas Blog

 

Lauded as one of the healthiest takes on the classic Indian chai, this golden turmeric tea recipe boasts of several healing properties, great for both the body and the mind. One cup of golden turmeric chai is packed with some soothing, earthy flavours and a delicious taste that strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savoury. Besides, this recipe is a godsend to those looking for ways to include more turmeric in their diet. Just 2 cups of this drink can fetch you a host of anti-inflammatory and immunity benefits. 

 

Ingredients

  • Turmeric Powder 
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Ground Pepper
  • Black Tea Leaves Or Powder
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste) 

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Add turmeric powder, cinnamon, pepper, ginger and cardamom to 1 cup of water 
  • Stir well and bring to boil 
  • Add tea leaves, water and milk 
  • Add sugar to taste 
  • Let steep for 2-5 minutes
  • Strain into a cup and serve

 

Recipe Courtesy - Budget Bytes

 

 

Also Read: 10 Fancy Coffees You Can Re-Create In Your Kitchen

 

4. Sulaimani Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_sulaimani_chai

Image Courtesy - The Better India

 

Believed to have had Arab origins and popularised in the state of Kerala, Sulaimani chai has one of the easiest to make at home recipes, that will give you a large cup of warmth in return. Peak summer or a freezing day, a cup of Sulaimani chai makes for the perfect accompaniment across all kinds of weather. This recipe take also brings to your mug a heap of exotic, rich flavours all of which lend this tea a delicious, ambrosial taste. 

 

Ingredients

  • Tea Leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Saffron
  • Cloves
  • Lime Juice 
  • Milk, Water & Jaggery

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Heat water and add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and tea leaves
  • Bring to boil and add jaggery
  • Let simmer for a minute 
  • Add lime juice and stir well
  • Strain the tea into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - India Food Network 

 

 

5. Adrak Pudina Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_mint_ginger_chai

Image Courtesy - Good Fon

 

Now this one is a cup of chai that goes beyond just being tasty and refreshing to sip on. Brimming with several herbal properties that range from reducing bloating and promoting healthy digestion to enhancing your immunity and fighting cold and cough, this tangy tea deserves to be included in our daily tea rituals! The mint and ginger work together to create strong, intense and heavenly flavours that will invigorate anybody pausing for a tea-break. 

 

Ingredients

  • Mint Leaves
  • Grated Ginger 
  • Tea Leaves
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste) 

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Boil 1 cup of water and add tea leaves & sugar
  • Add grated ginger and 7-8 mint leaves to the water
  • Let simmer for a minute
  • Add milk and stir well for 2-3 minutes
  • Bring to boil 
  • Strain the tea into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - Amee Ganatra CookPad

 

 

6. Chocolate Chilli Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_chocolate_chilli_chai

Image Courtesy - Jessica Cox

 

Calling all tea adventurers now! If you enjoy experimenting with unique flavours and perfecting a cup of chai with an unusual mix of ingredients, this chai recipe has to be on your radar. Combining the sweetness of chocolate with some spicy chilli powder leads to a quirky tea flavour that's likely to be an instant hit with your guests. You can go ahead and add or remove an ingredient to give this recipe your individual tweak. 

 

Ingredients

  • Black Tea Leaves Or Powder
  • Bits Of Dairy-Free Chocolate 
  • Ground Cinnamon 
  • Nutmeg 
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Star Anise
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste)

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Grind nutmeg
  • Grind the rest of the spices 
  • Grind cashews and chocolate, blend in water to make a paste 
  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add tea leaves
  • Simmer for 4-5 minutes 
  • Add sugar, ground spices, ground nutmeg and cashew-chocolate paste 
  • Stir well and bring to boil 
  • Strain the tea into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - Quickly Cooking

 

 

Also Read: Combat Weather Changes With These 7 Comforting Beverages

 

7. Apple Cinnamon Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_apple_cinnamon_tea

Image Courtesy - Lucky Leaf

 

This is the perfect hot beverage to snuggle in bed with on a crisp fall day, but also makes for a great beverage to top off your heavy lunches with, regardless of the season outside. The fruity flavour of the apples when thrown into the mix of strong Indian spices like elaichi, leads to a decadent cup of tea full of subtle sweet tones and strong spicy aromas. 

 

Ingredients

  • Tea Leaves Or Powder
  • Minced Apples
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Honey
  • Ground Pepper
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste) 

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Pour water into a cup 
  • Add tea, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper 
  • Bring to a boil and set aside to simmer
  • Add the minced apples and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and let rest for 5 minutes
  • Strain the tea into another pot and add sugar 
  • Let the tea cool down
  • Add honey, strain into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - Swasthi's Recipes

 

 

8. Gud Ginger Chai 

unusual-chai-recipes_gud_ginger_chai

Image Courtesy - YouTube

 

Swapping the commonly used tea sweetener of white sugar with some classic Indian jaggery leaves you with an aromatic cup of chai that has a deep, earthy flavour. This recipe might require a bit of practice and copious amounts of patience to master, since there's the impending risk of your tea curdling when you add jaggery to hot milk. To make an authentic cup of gud waali chai, it's highly recommended that you use high-quality jaggery and add it after the tea has been simmered, strained and left to cool for a bit. The numerous health benefits of this simple sweetener swap are absolutely worth it as a long term practice. 

 

Ingredients

  • Tea Leaves Or Powder
  • Dry Ginger Powder
  • Grated Organic Jaggery 
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste) 

 

Chai These Steps

  • Warm 1 cup of milk on low heat
  • Add half a cup of water to a pan 
  • Add freshly grated ginger, cardamom powder, crushed jaggery
  • Bring to a boil 
  • Continue stirring till the jaggery dissolves completely 
  • Add tea leaves, turn the heat to low and stir well 
  • Let simmer for 2 minutes while stirring occasionally 
  • Turn off the heat, strain into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - Rajan Singh Jolly Youtube 

 

 

9. Caramel Chai Tea Latte 

unusual-chai-recipes_caramel_chai

Image Courtesy - Keto Chow

 

Perfect as a late-afternoon cuppa, this chai recipe with a caramel twist makes for a steaming cup of tea that can take care of your sugar cravings alone, without you needing to order dessert. If you're planning on going all out with the caramel chai recipe, you can add your own unique toppings ranging from whipped cream to salted caramel sauce. If the result is too sweet for your taste, you can load up on the spices and even add a dash of salt, to balance the sugary flavour. 

 

Ingredients

  • Black Tea Leaves Or Bags 
  • Caramel Syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Ground Pepper
  • Crushed Ginger
  • Milk, Water & Sugar (To Taste) 

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Bring water and milk to a boil in a large saucepan
  • Add tea leaves, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and let simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add the spices & crushed ginger and continue steeping
  • Stir in caramel syrup and add sugar to taste 
  • Strain into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - Taste Of Home

 

 

10. Vanilla Chai Latte 

unusual-chai-recipes_vanilla_chai_latte

Image Courtesy - The Sweetest Digs

 

This is it. This is the most indulgent mug of chai drink you can sip on when you need to feel cosy and comforted, STAT. Infused with strong spices, the heavenly smell of vanilla and of course, our favourite milky chai, this DIY chai-latte recipe can give the fancy drinks of Starbucks, a serious run for their money. 

 

Ingredients

  • Tea Leaves
  • Star Anise
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Vanilla Extract 
  • Water Milk & Sugar (To Taste)  

 

Chai These Steps 

  • Add anise, cardamom, cloves and ginger to 2 cups of water
  • Bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low and add tea, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract, milk & sugar 
  • Stir well and let simmer for 3 minutes
  • Turn off heat, strain the tea into a cup and serve 

 

Recipe Courtesy - The Chic Lab TV Youtube

 


What a brew-tea-ful day to sip on some chai! 


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