Nepali Chiya is a milk-based spiced tea enjoyed by most Nepali anytime of the day. It is flexible to meet different lifestyles and can be be adjusted to serve yourself or a large crowd.
I leave for Nepal in exactly 19 days so I thought I’d quickly pop in & share what I will be drinking 3/4th of my time while I am there. Chiya (commonly known as chai) is an important part of Nepali culture regardless of the caste, religion, socio-economic status, or time of the day. Most people enjoy drinking tea 2-3 times a day or at least that’s how we do in my family. My parents start their day with a cup of black tea (or coffee for my dad) followed by milk tea. The version I am sharing for Nepali Chiya (milk-based spiced tea) is what I grew up drinking but the ingredients & methods may vary from one person to another. I make Nepali Chiya very rarely mainly because I am addicted to the instant iced coffee + I always associate drinking chiya as a family affair. The only other time you will find me making chiya is when I am super stressed. Both chiya & baking bread has that therapeutic effect and right now I will take any opportunity that will bring some calmness in my life. You can make a simple cup of chiya by boiling water or milk with tea (both loose leaf or tea bag works) and sugar or take it a step further with few spices like cardamom, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon. I love my black tea plain but when it comes to Nepali chiya, I like it spiced; slightly spicier the better IMO. Nepali chiya is a very flexible beverage and depending on the supplies and your taste preference you can easily play around with the ingredients. You can make a creamy cup of Nepali chiya with whole milk or substitute non-dairy milk alternate if dairy doesn’t fit your lifestyle. If you run out of milk and 5 additional guests show up unexpectedly, increase the ratio of water to milk and you are all set. When it comes to spices, you can stick with you fav ones. I always over do cardamom & ginger because they are my fav spices. Nik from A Brown Table shared masala chai, a version very similar to what I am sharing today but his method is slightly different and the photography is just fantastic. If you are into chai latte or chai flavored things, you will most likely enjoy Nepali chiya. It taste even better when you have snacks & baked goods to enjoy with. Some of my fav Nepali Chiya essentials are : biscotti (vegan muesli, cranberry almond) // pistachio muffins with cardamom & rose jam // easy homemade crackers // kefir hazelnut bread
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk*
- 2 teaspoon sugar (adjust per taste)
- 2 tablespoon black tea**
- 1 small piece of ginger, grated
- 1 stick cardamom
- 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 4 black pepper, crushed
- In a medium saucepan, heat water, black tea, milk and sugar. Allow it come to a boil.
- Add spices to the pan and let it boil for additional 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and boil until it gets to rich, browinish color.
- Adjust sugar and spices and remove from heat.
- Use a strainer to remove tea leaves & spices before serving.
- Enjoy it hot.
**I used Darjeeling black tea but other black tea works. You may have to adjust the quantity depending on how dark or light you like your tea. Also, depending on the tea, the color may vary.
If you are into homemade drinks, you should perhaps check out: