Chai for Two

This recipe accompanies an excerpt from Alison Singh Gee’s book, Where the Peacocks Sing: A Palace, A Prince, and the Search for Home.


Chai, Indian Spiced Tea

Yield: 2  |  Total time: 5 min
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Recipe courtesy of Alison Singh Gee. 

"Hoti Lal, who has been with the Singh family for fifty-four years, makes the most amazing cup of chai; somehow he always creates layers and layers of spices and textures in each cup. Must be thanks to the ginger and a few shakes of white pepper. I've managed to sneak the head servant's recipe out of the haveli. Here it is, friends. And, oh yeah, don't be afraid of using whole milk. Good chai has body and only whole milk can give that."  --Alison Singh Gee


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 2 heaping tablespoons black tea, preferably Indian
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 10 Cardamom pods or 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Cinnamon sticks, optional
  • Fresh ground white pepper, optional
  • Organic honey, to taste


  1. Boil water in a medium-size pot. Peel and finely grate ginger; add to boiling water. Stir in black tea (about five tea bags). Pour in 1 cup of whole milk, or as much is needed to turn the tea a caramel color.  Lower heat to medium and let boil gently until well blended, being careful not to let mixture boil over.  Crack ten pods of cardamom and grind the seeds, if using; stir in ground cardamom.  Throw a cinnamon stick in for good measure. If you like a little bite in your chai, add several cracks of white pepper.

  2. Pour the tea and milk mixture into two big mugs. Lace each cup with at least one dripping tablespoon of honey (more if necessary -- and more is always necessary in our house. Ajay equates honey with a flow of positive emotion, and so his chai is super sweet). Stir thoroughly and serve with love. In the garden is always a nice touch.

Date Published: March 19, 2013

All recipes have been tested by the Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.

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