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Spicing up original Kenyan chai

 Spicing up original Kenyan chai (Photo: iStock)

No Kenyan breakfast is complete without chai!

There is a popular way of making tea that involves adding water, tea leaves and sugar to boiled milk. Different homesteads use different recipes.

Today we're going to learn how to spice up the tea with ginger and cardamom.


2 cups water

2 cups milk

2-3 teaspoons Kenyan tea leaves 

2 slices of fresh ginger

2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

3 cloves

Sugar, to taste


In a saucepan, bring the water to the boil over a medium heat.

Once the water is boiling, add the ginger slices, cardamom pods and cloves. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to infuse the water with their aromas.

Add the Kenyan tea leaves to the pot. Stir well and leave to simmer for a further 3-4 minutes. Adjust the brewing time according to your preference for the strength of the tea.

Pour in the milk and stir gently to combine with the tea mixture. Bring the chai to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Make sure it does not boil over.

Once the chai has come to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.

Taste the chai and add sugar to sweeten to taste. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove the cooker from the heat and strain the chai into cups or a teapot to remove the ginger, cardamom pods, cloves and tea leaves.

Serve with mahamri, bread, mandazi or any morning snack. Enjoy!

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