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3 Highway Style Chai Lattes

3 Highway Style Chai Lattes

Not so sure when Chai became Latte.. It used to be simply Tea in English and Chai in Urdu and some how it got that Latte makeover at many coffee shops globally. Pakistanis are very fond of chai which can clearly be proven by the fact that a while ago Pakistan was the third largest importer of tea. Offices have a “tea break” routine and there is not a single household in the country where there is no tea drinker. Each home has its own style and proportion which may also vary according to the geographical location. Like in Karachi, South of Pakistan, there is black tea, karak chai, meaning strong tea and there is masala tea which has a kick of spice where as in Lahore, East of Pakistan, there is doodh patti which means milk tea. Although North of Pakistan is more famous for its  Green Tea (Qehwa) variety and Kashmiri Chai but tea trend is there too. I was once told that in the Western province of Pakistan, during extreme chilly weather, people boil mulburry in water before adding tea to it. Interesting, right!

Basic ingredients for chai are simply water, tea leaves, milk and sugar (could be optional) and the way these ingredients are mixed together is what gives each cup of tea different strength, color, aroma and taste. Of course quality of tea leaves and milk matter the most. A very traditional way is to put tea leaves in a tea pot and pour boiling water over it. Keep the pot covered with a tea cozy while tea leaves steep (release color and flavor) for few minutes then strained into cups and served with separate pot of milk and sugar. Most common way of making tea is to boil water, add tea leaves to the pot, simmer for a couple of minutes, add milk, bring to a boil and strain into cups. With the convenience of tea bags, things have gone simpler. Today I am sharing three easy ways of making highway style tea which are very famous among people driving across the country.

Ilaichi Wali Chai (Green Cardamom Tea): 

This is the most common roadside style of tea or chai latte. As the name suggests, there is green cardamom in the tea which gives a sweet fragrant cup of tea. While boiling water for tea, few green cardamoms are added to the pot. Cardamoms release their color as well which makes tea look “stronger and darker” in color. Another thing you might have noticed that roadside/highway tea is always sweet. They add sugar because it keeps tea warmer for a longer duration and also brings down the boiling point of water which means water will boil quickly and tea will be ready quickly too.

Green Cardamom Tea/ Chai Latte

Tea infused with green cardamom is very common and famous in Pakistan. Roadside cafes (dhabbay) serve this particular tea.

Course Drinks
Cuisine Pakistani
Keyword Chai Latte, Green Cardamom Tea, Green Cradamom Chai Latte, Ilaich wali chai
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Heenie

Ingredients

  • cups water
  • 4-5 pods green cardamoms, slightly crushed
  • 2 tsp tea leaves (or use tea from 2 tea bags)
  • cup whole milk
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional or serve separately)

Instructions

  1. In a small sauce pan, pour water and add green cardamoms.

  2. Place over medium high flame and bring to a rapid boil.

  3. Add tea leaves, lower the flame to simmer.

  4. Cover the pan and let the tea steep for about 80-90 seconds.

  5. Add in milk and sugar (if using) and bring to a gentle boil over medium flame.

  6. Strain into cups and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Amount of tea leaves and milk can be adjusted according to the preference.

Adding sugar while making tea will keep the tea warmer for a little longer. Feel free to add more or less sugar as you like.

Masala Chai Latte /Masala Chai:

This style of chai is different due to the addition of unique blends of spices, particularly famous in Karachi. Traditionally, there is ginger, crushed cloves, green cardamoms and black pepper corns but one can be creative and a little experimental with proportions and selection of spices. A hint of cinnamon, fennel seeds or star anise adds a subtle sweetness and smoothness in contrast to other strong flavored spices. Another easier way would be adding a pinch or two of all spice powder (please do not confuse it with garam masala).

Masala Chai Latte / Masala Chai

Add a spicy kick to traditional tea with a blend of spices and elevate chai to another level.

Course Drinks
Cuisine Pakistani
Keyword Masala Chai, Masala Chai Latte, Masala Tea
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2
Author Heenie

Ingredients

  • cups water
  • ½ inch piece fresh ginger root
  • 2 pods green cardamom, slightly crushed
  • 1 small stick cinnamon
  • 2 black pepper corns, slightly crushed
  • 1 clove, slightly cushed
  • 1 small star anise
  • 2 tsp tea leaves
  • cup whole milk
  • tsp sugar or as required

Instructions

  1. In a small sauce pan add water with ginger, green cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, clove and star anise and bring to a rapid boil.

  2. Add tea leaves, cover the pot and let steep for 80-90 seconds.

  3. Uncover, add milk and sugar (or serve sugar separately) and bring to a gentle boil over medium flame.

  4. Strain into cups and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

For milder flavor, add spices with tea leaves. 

Add or remove any spice as you like. 

 

 

Jaggery Chai Latte (Gur Wali Chai):

This is another very common style and flavor of dhabba chai. As mentioned above, adding sweetener makes tea making process quicker and keeps tea hot for longer. Jaggery/gur has its own distinctive flavor which adds depth to the flavor of tea.

Jaggery Chai Latte / Gur Wali Chai

A tradional way of preparing sweet and aromatic tea which is a national favorite.

Course Drinks
Cuisine Pakistani
Keyword Chai Latte, Gur wali Chai, Jaggery Chai Latte, Jaggery Tea
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Author Heenie

Ingredients

  • cups water
  • 1 tbsp crushed jaggery/ gur (or according to taste)
  • 2 pods green cardamoms (optional)
  • 2 tsp tea leaves
  • cup whole milk

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pan add water and jaggery/gur.

  2. Bring to a rapid boil over medium high flame.

  3. Add green cardamoms if using.

  4. Add tea leaves, put lid on the pot and let tea steep for 80-90 minutes.

  5. Uncover, pour in milk and bring to a gentle boil over medium flame.

  6. Strain into cups and serve immediately.



2 thoughts on “3 Highway Style Chai Lattes”

  • one variation – my regular – out on the streets is ; “doodh rok k, patti thok k” (hold the milk, pour the tea leaves)

    An honorable mention should be the “ishpeshal chai” (Special Tea, meaning, half a cup of tea/latte + rest of the half pure cream)

    Well done mate – you have kicked off cold 2020 in grand style!!

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