Nepalese Chai Recipe

I recently traveled with the nonprofit organization DEFT Community to assist with the rebuilding of a local school and community center in Dhungkharka, Nepal which were destroyed in the earthquakes last spring. Learn more about the project through my blog and on our Facebook page here

The Road to Dhungkharka, Nepal
My Nepalese Home
Spicy Tomato Achaar

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea
Never in my life have I had as much tea as I did during my visit to Nepal. Every morning we’d wake up to a fresh cup of deliciously sweet chai and each time our group would visit a home or meet with villagers, we were offered more cups.

I couldn’t get enough of it. The tea is rich with warm spices (perfect for when you’re in the mountains!) and often sweetened with honey or sugar. When our tea was served with fresh milk, it was an extra treat. Fresh milk in Dhungkharka means someone literally milked the cow this morning (or JUST now) and you are now drinking it.

It was damn good.

We also tried chai with fresh buffalo’s milk which added a unique flavor and was neat to try although all I could think about was how it really tasted like buffalo mozzarella. I certainly wasn’t complaining about that though.

One of my favorite experiences while we were in Dhungkharka was during a visit to one of the homes in the village. I was taking some photographs around the house and saw this sweet grandmother in the smoky kitchen.

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

The first day we met at her home

I popped in to take a few more photographs and was getting ready to leave when she insisted I have a seat as she began making me a fresh cup of tea.

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

I loved getting to see the entire tea steeping process first hand from someone I trusted knew it best.

We ended up laughing together the rest of the afternoon even though we shared no common language. She was one of the friendliest people I met in Nepal — which is saying a lot considering how warm and welcoming everyone I met was!

I think she poured me about 10 cups of tea that afternoon and I loved every sip.

Nepalese Chai Recipe

Step One— Get your fire going

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

Step Two— Boil your fresh milk and water

Step Three— Try not to die of smoke inhalation (I was struggling with this one, but my host was a pro!)

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

You can see all the smoke that filled the room. We sat low on the ground which made it a bit easier to breathe, but I still struggled

Step Four— Add spices and sugar

Step Five— Boil & Bubble

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

Step Six— Add tea

Step Seven— Keep the fire going

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

Step Eight— Add sugar (lots of sugar if you are having visitors)

Step Nine— More boiling and bubbling

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

Step Ten— Strain and serve hot

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

When I made my own Nepalese chai at home I was missing the hot wood burning fire and my new friend, but it still brought back all my delicious memories from Dhungkharka. With winter coming, I can’t wait to serve this for guests or on cold nights at home with Peter.

Play with the amount of spices you use and adjust them to your taste–and if you are serving the tea to guests, you can’t skimp on the sugar.

Nepalese Chai Recipe - How to make the perfect cup of hot, spiced milk tea

The Perfect Cup

Nepalese Chai Recipe

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Nepalese Chai Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • few slices of fresh ginger
  • sugar, to your liking
  • 3-4 tbsp black tea (or 3-4 tea bags)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, boil milk and water over high heat
  2. Add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger
  3. Boil for 5 minutes
  4. Add tea
  5. Continue boiling for 5 minutes
  6. Add sugar
  7. Boil for 2-3 minutes
  8. Strain and serve hot

Notes

Play with the spices and adjust to your tastes

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