Chai has been synonymous with home since I can remember. Any Indian person can relate to the feeling of nostalgia you get when you take a sip of hot, black tea blended with frothy milk, ginger, cardamom, and other spices. Every morning at home begins with a cup of chai, and every guest who comes into our home is greeted with a fresh, hot cup paired with samosas and Parle-G biscuits.
Chai isn't just about the warm spices and flavors — it's about the act of sitting with loved ones while serving it and sipping on it together. In India, chai is served in street-side cafes, known as dhabas, where locals in the community gather over the postmeal drink.
On Diwali, everything gets an upgrade — from the house decor and traditional garb we wear down to the card games we play and food we eat. In my house, even the chai we drink gets the special addition of rose petals — another traditional Indian dessert flavor. If you love tea and warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom, or you just like holding something warm in your hand as the weather gets colder, this recipe is just as easy to make as it is luxurious to taste. The indulgent taste always puts me in the mood for the Indian festival of lights, even if I'm oceans away from family.
If you can't get your hands on Ranavat's Illuminate Darjeeling tea, swap it out for any darjeeling tea and 1 teaspoon of rose water.
If you don't have a frother, boil the milk with the water and tea.
- 1 bag Ranavat's Illuminate Darjeeling Tea
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup milk (I use oat milk for its creamy consistency)
1 teaspoon agave, or sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon blend of ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and black pepper
1 stick cinnamon
1 pinch saffron
- Put your water, tea bag, and blend of spices (plus saffron, if you have it) in a small pot. Once it comes to a boil, bring the heat down to low and let steep for five minutes.
- While waiting on the tea, warm up your milk and agave in the microwave for one minute.
- Use a hand frother to froth the milk and agave in the mug until it's at your desired consistency.
- Hold a hand sieve over your mug as you pour the tea into your mug of frothed milk.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon on top and put a cinnamon stick in it for an extrafestive look — you can't go wrong with the toppings here. Put on your favorite Bollywood movie and enjoy!
- 1 cup
- Total Time
- 7 minutes, 59 seconds