A Tandoori chai is a unique style of Indian tea. The process of making tea in a traditional clay pot called a tandoor The clay pot is lined with charcoal which imparts a smoky flavor to the tea.
To prepare tandoori chai, the tea is brewed with spices like cardamom, ginger, and sometimes cloves or cinnamon. The brewed tea is then poured into small clay cups and placed inside the tandoor. The intense heat from the charcoal quickly heats up the chai, giving it a smoky essence.
After a brief period in the tandoor, the chai is served piping hot, creating a distinct smoky aroma and taste that sets it apart from regular chai.
Tandoori chai (tea) has gained popularity in certain regions for its unique preparation method and the rich, smoky flavor it offers tea enthusiasts.
Here’s a recipe for making tandoori chai
- 4 cups water
- 4 teaspoons loose black tea leaves
- 4-5 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 cup whole milk
- Sugar or sweetener (to taste)
1/ In a saucepan add water and bring it to a boil.
2/ Once the water is boiling, add the loose black tea leaves, and crushed cardamom pods. Let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat to allow the spices to infuse into the water.
3/ Add the whole milk to the saucepan and let the mixture simmer for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat to prevent the chai from boiling over.
4/ After simmering, strain the chai mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or a tea strainer into another pot or container to remove the tea leaves and spices.
5/ Now, preheat a tandoor or charcoal grill. If you don’t have a tandoor, you can use a small metal bowl or pot lined with aluminum foil and preheat it on the grill.
6/ Pour the strained chai into small clay cups or terracotta cups. Place these cups inside the preheated tandoor or over the charcoal grill for about 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to leave it for too long to avoid overheating or cracking the cups.
7/ Remove the cups from the tandoor or grill carefully using oven mitts as they will be hot.
8/ Serve the tandoori chai hot, and if desired, you can add sugar or your preferred sweetener to taste.
Please note: Exercise caution while handling the hot tandoor or grill, and also be careful when pouring and serving the hot chai. Adjust the strength of the tea, spices, and sweetness according to your preference. Enjoy your unique and smoky-flavored tandoori chai!
Some Tips and Tricks For Making Tandoori Chai
Use Fresh Ingredients: Ensure you use fresh tea leaves, whole spices (like cardamom), and quality milk for the best flavors.
Control Heat: While simmering the chai, maintain medium heat to allow the spices to infuse without boiling over. Adjust the heat as needed.
Strain Well: Strain the chai thoroughly to remove tea leaves and spices, providing a smooth and clear liquid for the final step.Preheating: If using a tandoor or grill, preheat it well. If you don’t have one, use a metal bowl or pot lined with foil to replicate the tandoori effect.
Clay Cups: Use small clay or terracotta cups for authenticity. Ensure they can withstand heat, and handle them carefully when placing or removing them from the tandoor or grill.
Short Exposure: When placing the cups inside the tandoor or grill, keep them for only 1-2 minutes. Overexposure can make the chai overly smoky or cause the cups to crack.
Be Cautious: Handling hot cups and working around the tandoor or grill requires caution. Use mitts or heat-resistant gloves to prevent burns.
Experiment: Adjust the tea strength, spice ratios, and sweetness according to your taste preferences. Tandoori chai is versatile, so feel free to experiment!
Presentation: Serve the tandoori chai hot and present it attractively, perhaps with a hint of traditional Indian aesthetics to enhance the experience.
Enjoy Fresh: Tandoori chai is best enjoyed fresh. Prepare it just before serving to maintain its unique smoky flavors.
Tandoori chai’s nutritional content can vary based on factors like the amount of tea leaves, milk, and sugar used. Typically, here’s an approximate nutritional breakdown for a standard serving (around 8 ounces or 240 milliliters) of tandoori chai made with whole milk and moderate sugar:
- Calories: Approximately 100–150 calories
- Total Fat: Around 4-6 grams, mostly from milk fat
- Carbohydrates: Approximately 10–15 grams, mainly from lactose in milk and added sugar
- Protein: About 4-6 grams from milk
- Sodium: Varies based on added salt and other ingredients, typically low unless added intentionally
- Calcium: A significant source due to the milk content, providing around 20–25% of the daily recommended intake
These values are approximate and can change depending on the specific recipe and portion sizes. If you’re aiming to track your nutritional intake, consider adjusting quantities of milk and sugar to suit your dietary preferences or requirements.
Some frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Tandoori Chai
What is Tandoori Chai?
Tandoori Chai is a unique variation of traditional Indian chai, where the brewed tea is exposed to heat in a tandoor or charcoal grill, infusing it with a smoky flavor.
How is Tandoori Chai prepared?
It involves brewing chai with spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. After straining, the chai is poured into clay cups and briefly exposed to the heat of a tandoor or charcoal grill for a smoky essence.
What spices are used in Tandoori Chai?
Common spices include green cardamom pods, fresh ginger, cloves, and sometimes cinnamon.
Can I make Tandoori Chai at home without a tandoor?
Yes, you can replicate the smoky effect by using a charcoal grill or improvising with a small metal bowl lined with aluminum foil over a grill.
What type of cups should be used for serving Tandoori Chai?
Authentic Tandoori Chai is often served in small clay or terracotta cups. These cups can withstand heat and add to the traditional experience.
Is Tandoori Chai very smoky in taste?
The smokiness of Tandoori Chai is noticeable but not overwhelming. The exposure to heat imparts a subtle smoky flavor that complements the spices and tea.
Can I adjust the strength of spices in Tandoori Chai?
Absolutely! You can adjust the quantity of spices according to your taste preferences to make the chai more or less spicy.
Does Tandoori Chai contain caffeine?
Yes, since it’s brewed using black tea leaves, Tandoori Chai contains caffeine. The amount can vary based on the tea leaves used and brewing time.
Is Tandoori Chai sweetened?
Sweetening is optional and can be adjusted according to individual preferences. Some enjoy it with added sugar or sweeteners, while others prefer it without any sweetening.
Where can I find Tandoori Chai?
Tandoori Chai is available at select tea stalls or cafes in regions where this unique style of chai is popular. Alternatively, you can try making it at home using authentic recipes.