Why Middle Eastern Chai Karak Deserves More Attention
Image Credit: english.alarabiya.net

Tea is more than a beverage; it is an emotion. In Indian households, making tea first thing in the morning for your entire family might count as a chore for some, to others, it is a welcome responsibility. Tea time calls for a respite from the day long monotony, to others, it is the propellant that keeps them going in the midst of a hectic workday, and to some, making tea is a portrayal of affection. Calling it how it is, tea has captured our imagination and conquered our hearts and soul. Tea comes in various flavours and forms, each suitable to cater to our moods throughout the waking hours. In similar vein, we have to shine a light on this tea preparation from Qatar which is a very popular beverage in the middle-east and for good reasons too.

Chai Karak is a luxurious, spiced, caramel coloured tea that originated in Qatar and then became widely popular in the larger Gulf area. Tea came to the middle east from India via the spice trade and the locals loved tea so much that they created their own variations of it. Chai Karak is made with loose black tea and spiced with cardamom, saffron, cloves, cinnamon, sugar and ginger. Pretty straightforward, right? The trick is locals use evaporated milk instead of regular milk that gives a rich terracotta colour or a caramel hue to it. Apart from the colour, it also gives a velvety mouthfeel to this tea which is to-die-for!

In some preparations people swap out the sugar and evaporated milk for condensed milk which is sweet in itself. The addition of spices may also vary according to your palette and taste preferences, for instance, you may opt not to put the cinnamon stick if its flavour profile overwhelms the chai karak, or you could add whole black peppercorns if you want the relatively sweet hot beverage to have a hint of kick to it, or you could also serve it over ice and have it as an iced tea. When it comes to chai karak, you can’t go wrong as long as you’re sticking to the basics. There is no hard and fast rule of making it or serving it rather and what more? you don’t have to fly all the way to the middle east to have a sip, either! We’ve crafted a recipe for you to make Chai Karak sitting in the comfort of your own home to enjoy with the rest of your family. 


  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp loose strong black tea
  • 3-4 g sliced and peeled ginger
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 8 threads of saffron


  • Add the black tea to your pot along with the spices and ginger.
  • Pour over the room temp water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the sugar, then reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • When the 5 minutes are is up, add the evaporated milk.
  • Continue to cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. When chai foams up, remove the pot from the heat to let the tea settle down, then add it back to the heat.
  • Repeat this 3-5 times to ensure that the texture of the chai is velvety.
  • Strain the tea and serve it hot or cold.