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Elaichi chai is the craze at the moment, at least in our hospital mess. No night shift can ever be over without at least one dose of this comfortingly aromatic hot beverage expertly brewed by my interns who also happen to be very good self-taught cooks. It has become something of a ritual for us to gather around the mess table for a cup of freshly brewed elaichi chai before going back to casualty to deal with patients having the usual late-night complaints. I think it is what  keeps me going through the dreary 31hour shifts when duty compels me to overlook food and sleep. In an attempt to recreate JNH mess elaichi chai at home, I went ahead and made a gourmet version by adding whole vanilla beans and oodles of condensed milk to my regular Bois Cheri loose black tea. First come, first served!



1/3 cup full fat milk powder

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons black tea leaves

2 green cardamom pods

1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 tablespoons condensed milk


  • Combine milk powder and water in a saucepan till dissolved. Warm over low heat until it bubbles.
  • Crush cardamom, add the seeds and the vanilla pod to the boiling milk. Add sugar and stir it well.
  • Reduce heat and leave the milk to simmer for a about a minute until the mixture thickens slightly.

  • Add tea leaves and allow to infuse for 2-3 minutes until the mixture begins to bubble once again.
  • Remove from heat, strain the mixture using a fine mesh sieve into a large teapot or another pan.
  • Condensed milk may be added to elaichi chai for extra sweetness. Serve hot. Makes one serving.

Hot Elaichi Chai

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