Chai is not a beverage but an emotion. A cup of hot tea after a tiring day can help alleviate tension and soothe the soul like nothing else. India is the land of chai. From herbal teas to desi masala chai, India never fails to impress chai lovers. One such tea is Irani Chai, which is quite popular and delicious in its own way. Also known as Hyderabadi Dum Chai, this tea is sweet, milky and creamy. Persian immigrants brought it to the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. Irani chai is made by adding mawa or khoya to black tea, which is unlike any other variety of Indian chai. The end product is a smooth, creamy chai that can be spiced up with cinnamon and green cardamom if desired. 

Over time, it has altered to suit the taste of Indians. This tea is brewed slowly with warm spices like green cardamoms and cinnamon before being mixed with a creamy reduced milk mixture. Traditional creamy milk is produced with milk and khoya. However, the modern variations use heavy cream, malai or condensed milk. If you enjoy chai, you should definitely try Irani Chai at least once. You can add extra spices if you want to make the tea stronger. You can customise it to your liking, but better avoid interfering with the base ingredients. 

Here’s how you can make Irani chai at home.

Ingredients:

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Water
  3. Khoya
  4. Cardamom
  5. Sugar
  6. Milk
  7. Black tea leaves

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, add 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons tea leaves (or 2 tea bags), 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 green cardamoms (slightly crushed) and a 1-inch cinnamon stick (lightly crushed).
  2. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  4. Boil the tea for 30 minutes on low heat.
  5. Boil the milk while the tea is simmering.
  6. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of whole milk (full-fat milk) to boil over medium heat.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and boil until the milk has been reduced to half its original volume. 
  8. To avoid burning at the bottom of the pan, stir continuously.
  9. Add 2 tbsp crushed khoya. 
  10. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until crushed khoya is thoroughly mixed with the milk.
  11. Strain the tea and pour 1/4 cup of the decoction into a serving cup.
  12. Add some milk to the tea and serve immediately.

Tips to keep in mind:

  1. To make the tea more spicy and strong, you can add extra spices such as star anise, black cardamoms, cloves and black peppercorns.
  2. In place of khoya, you can also mix 2 tablespoons of milk powder with 1 tablespoon of milk and stir thoroughly.
Irani Chai/ Pinterest.com 

Irani tea is traditionally served with Osmania biscuits, which are also a Hyderabadi speciality. For your evening tea, this hot beverage can also be served with Nankhatai, Methi Mathri, Namak Para, Khakra or Cornflakes Chivda.