Antique Chai Recipe




About: Omar, 21 years old, Oslo - Norway.

Before my grandparents moved to Norway during the 60's and 70's, their ancestors had been living on the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years. With them, they brought this recipe for chai, passed down through generations since medieval times. I find this to be the best chai I've ever tasted, and think that more people should have the possibility to taste it. Therefore, I'm sharing this recipe with y'all. So, yeah, let's make chai!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Ingredients

There are two ways to brew chai. You may brew it in milk, which is most common in India/Pakistan, or you may brew it in water. In this case, I chose to brew in water. Later on, you add milk to taste. The ingridients are simple, but they include spices that you may have to track down before you can make the chai. Powdered spices do not give the same taste, so whole spices are recommended.

- About 5 dl/2 cups of water.
- 1 star anise. (If you can't track it down in "normal" grocery stores, try International food stores. They are almost certain to have it, if not you can order it cheap on the Internet. Try for example iHerb)
- 3 pods cardamom.
- A small piece of cinnamon. (About 3 times 3 centimeter/1 inch times 1 inch)
- 3 spikes of cloves.
- 3 teabags. (Not pictured)
- Milk. (No exact amount, use as much as you want)
- Sugar to taste.

This recipe makes enough tea for two-three persons.

Step 2: Bring the Water to Boil

There are plenty of ways to do this. Gradually increase the heat until the water boils, put the pot on high heat from the beginning, add cooking water to a pot already sitting on the stove, whatever! Just bring it to boil.

Step 3: Add Spices&Simmer

Once the water is boiling, add all of your spices. Now at this point, you have to resist the urge to throw in any other spices. I know that it's a bit hard, since many other spices go well with the four I have listed. If you still want to add other spices, be careful, the taste may get a bit overwhelming. Therefore, it's nice to rely on a few spices to infuse the chai. When you've added the spices, cover the pot with a plate or a lid. Let simmer at low heat for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Add Teabags&Simmer More

Plop your teabags into the pot. (Black tea works best. I recommend Lipton or PG) A question that many people often ask is: "How many teabags should I use?". I tend to follow an Arab saying: "One for every guest, including one for the pot!". In other words, one for every person, plus one extra. Put the lid back on your pot once you have added the teabags, and simmer for a few minutes. When the tea got a reddish-amber color, it's ready. Discard the teabags, but leave the spices in the pot. (Teabags were invented in 1903, so they obviously did not use them in the Middle Ages. If you want to make this recipe more authentic, you may brew it with loose tea, and strain it afterwards.)

Step 5: Serving

Pour tea in a cup, until it's about half full. You may add the spices to your cup for more aromatic tea. Add milk until about 3/4-4/5 full, put it on a plate and serve. Biscuits go very well with this chai. Relax, and take a sip of your own, homemade chai. Think about the fact that little has changed with the recipe for this divine drink through many centuries. If you have any questions, suggestions, tips or comments, please write them! I would love to read your thoughts. Oh, and if you find this Indian recipe handy, you may also want to check out my recipe for quick and easy naan breads: Thank you for reading! :)

Indian Cuisine Contest

Runner Up in the
Indian Cuisine Contest



    • Spicy Challenge

      Spicy Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge

    14 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much for sharing this family recipe - I love Chai and feel like I am cheating myself everytime I order one at a cafe and it isn't brewed using tea leaves and spices (those awful powdered concoctions!). I am heading toward allow food - so brewing my own chai will add to the things i do for myself now.


    4 years ago

    Going to make this right now! I've always loved chai, especially when traditionally made. Have had it at Indian food stalls in Malaysia & know there are variations in the spices, but nothing beats freshly pulled chai. Thanks so much for this recipe!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I love chai and your step by step was great in showing a very easy way to make it. In India were chai originally comes from, they used milk right out of the animal with pasteurizing it. I would love to have a cup of Chai with that type of milk.


    That sounds delicious! I'll wait until our little heatwave is over and give it a try!


    6 years ago

    will this recipe work in one of those ceramic tea kettles that is heated with a tea light underneath? I'm sure it will be much longer because it offers very low heat, but I wondered if I could do this at work because I usually drink tea throughout the day.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for posting your ancient family recipe. I love to hear old family stories like that. Chai is not complicated but you have demystified the process.

    I found a recipe to make 8 cups of masala chai simmered in water. It contains cloves, fresh ginger, cinnamon stick, cardamom, black pepper and tea. Later vanilla and honey are added but I don't think they are necessary. I read somewhere that black pepper is included in many spice combinations because it is an activator for the healing properties in all the spices. Together they are more than the sum of their parts. I like to keep it in the fridge so I can have chai anytime. It keeps a long time without a problem.


    6 years ago

    It's on the stove as I am writing this. I hope it comes out alright. Looks yummy!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Step 5

    Great job! Looks yummy! I have made it long ago - in Thailand - all from scratch too. I miss it!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! Thailand, eh? I have a friend with Thai background, she makes wonderful tea! :)


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! You may use any variety of teabags, as long as it is black or green tea. White tea may give it a slight off-taste. I recommend Lipton and PG. Thanks for commenting! :)


    6 years ago