Irani Chai (Irani Tea, Hyderabadi Dum Chai) is a Persian-influenced tea that is extremely popular in the city of Hyderabad. Make this creamy tea at home using my simple recipe (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About Irani Chai (Hyderabadi Dum Tea)
Irani Chai (Irani Tea, Hyderabadi Tea) is a sweet, milky, and creamy Indian tea that is also popularly known as Hyderabadi Dum Chai. It was introduced to the Indian subcontinents by Persian immigrants in the 19th century. Over the years, it got evolved to suit Indian taste.
This tea is slowly brewed (dum) with warm spices such as green cardamom pods and cinnamon and is then mixed with a creamy reduced milk mixture. The creamy milk is traditionally made with milk and khoya (reduced milk solids), but some people use heavy cream, fresh cream (malai), or condensed milk instead.
You will find Hyderabadi chai on the menu of most Irani cafes. The roadside tea stalls in old Hyderabad also sell this refreshing beverage and if you are a chai lover, then this milk tea must definitely be on your chai-recipes-to-try list.
The taste of Hyderabadi Irani tea is very is unique and quite different from regular tea. Make it using my traditional recipe at home and enjoy!
My Irani chai recipe serves 4 but you can easily scale the recipe.
For The Tea Decoction – The tea decoction for Hyderabadi chai is made using water, Assam tea (black tea leaves, chai patti), sugar, green cardamoms, and cinnamon stick.
You can add in more spices such as star anise, black cardamoms, cloves, and black peppercorns to make it spicier and stronger.
Use loose black tea powder or tea bags, that’s up to you. Adjust the sugar as per your taste.
For The Milk Mixture – Use whole milk (full-fat milk) for the best result. Khoya (Mawa or Khava) is added to this mixture to make it creamy and rich.
If khoya is not available, then mix 2 tablespoon milk powder with 1 tablespoon milk and mix well. Use it in place of khoya.
Some people replace khoya with heavy cream, malai (fresh cream), or condensed milk. The taste will be slightly different but you can give it a try. Skip adding any extra sugar if using condensed milk as it is already very sweet.
How To Make Irani Chai
Make The Tea Decoction
Add 2 cups of water, 2 teaspoon tea leaves (or 2 tea bags), 2 teaspoon sugar, 2 green cardamoms (lightly crushed), and a 1-inch piece of cinnamon stick (lightly crushed) into a saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low.
Note – If your lid is not fitting tightly over the saucepan, you can seal it with some whole wheat flour dough to prevent any steam from escaping the pan. You can also cover the pan with aluminum foil.
Cook the tea on low heat for 30 minutes.
Make The Creamy Milk
While the tea is cooking on dum, make the milk mixture.
Add 2 cups of whole milk (full-fat milk) to a saucepan and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the milk is reduced to half. Stir frequently to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan.
Add 2 tablespoon crumbled khoya and cook for 3-4 minutes until it is mixed well in the milk.
Assemble The Irani Tea
Strain the tea using a tea strainer and pour ¼ cup of decoction into a serving cup.
Top with ¾ cup of the milk mixture and serve immediately.
This classic Iranian style tea is traditionally served with Osmania biscuits which are a Hyderabadi specialty too.
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Irani Chai Recipe (Hyderabadi Dum Chai)
For The Tea Decoction
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Assam tea leaves (chai patti) (or 2 tea bags)
- 2 teaspoons sugar (adjust as per your taste)
- 2 whole green cardamoms (lightly crushed)
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick (lightly crushed)
For The Creamy Milk
- 2 cups whole milk (full-fat milk)
- 2 tablespoons khoya (crumbled)
Make The Tea Decoction
- Add water, tea leaves, sugar, green cardamoms, and cinnamon stick into a saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook the tea on low heat for 30 minutes.
Make The Creamy Milk
- While the tea is cooking on dum, make the milk mixture.
- Add milk to a saucepan and bring it to a boil on medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the milk is reduced to half. Stir frequently to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan.
- Add khoya and cook for 3-4 minutes until it is mixed well in the milk.
Assemble The Chai
- Strain the tea using a tea strainer and pour ¼ cup of decoction in a serving cup.
- Top with ¾ cup of the milk mixture and serve immediately.