5 Ingredients or Fewer

Pukka Chai

February  1, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes as much or as little as you like, but only make as much as you're going to serve at a go so you can get it to a rapid boil quickly.
Author Notes

I thought about entering a chai recipe, but then saw that a few had been posted already and was going to skip it. Then I read those recipes and felt that I needed to set the record straight and tell everyone how to make pukka (proper) chai. In India you’ll never get a pukka chai in a restaurant. It is widely held that the only place to get pukka chai is on the street, generally from a man sitting on the ground with a small white spirit stove and a saucepan. No water is involved, and the quality of tea is the cheapest of the cheap. The milk is generally a blend of cow and buffalo and so the fat content comes in at an artery clogging 6% or so. You’ll be forgiven for substituting ordinary whole milk, but bonus points to those of you who do the math and add a bit of cream to up the ante. —innoabrd

What You'll Need
  • 3/4-1 cups whole milk per person
  • 1 scant teaspoons loose black tea, per person
  • sugar, to taste, but don't go easy. a teaspoon or two per person should be good
  • a few cardamom, freshly de-shelled, then either ground or whole
  • a few slices of fresh ginger
  1. In a saucepan combine all ingredients. There is no need to peel the ginger.
  2. Bring to a fast boil and boil the heck out of it for a two minutes.
  3. Strain the chai directly into cups. Small glasses would be modern traditional, but small clay cups can be used if you're old fashioned. If using clay cups, you should be sure to throw them to the ground when finished as they are meant to be disposable.
  4. Caution should be exercised if using authentic, cheap Indian glasses as occasionally the boiling liquid will cause air bubbles in the glass to expand rapidly and split the glass. This is a good effect, but the chai will stain, so choose your table settings accordingly.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mrslarkin
  • innoabrd

2 Reviews

mrslarkin February 1, 2011
Perfect day in NY for some pukka chai. Cold, snow, sleet, rain. Thanks!
innoabrd February 1, 2011
My folks are in Denver. Understand they're hoping for a high of -2 today!