Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai)

5 from 3 votes

Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai) is a delicious twist on regular tea. Masala Chai is smoked by pouring it into a hot kulhad (clay mug). Here is how to make it at home.

Tandoori chai served in a clay mug.
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About Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai)

Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai) is your same old Masala Chai with a twist. This twist gives it a nice earthy and smoky flavor, making it even more amazing. You can serve this quirky chai to your guests and surprise them with its unique clay pot flavor.

Tandoori Chai is actually a very traditional way of making tea that was almost forgotten. A cafe in Pune brought the method back into practice, and soon, it became an internet sensation.

It is traditionally made by warming the kulhad (clay mugs) in a tandoor until they are red hot and then pouring the masala chai in them, hence the name. Once poured into the hot kulhad, the tea froths vigorously like a volcano and gets infused with a smoky flavor.

It is a great beverage to make on rainy or cold days when craving something warm and soothing.

The recipe card includes a basic recipe for tea, but you can make the chai however you like it. The smoking process is important in this recipe.

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free. You can also make it vegan.

Here are some more tea recipes that you may like: Adrak Wali Chai, Kashmiri Tea Kahwa, and Herbal Saffron Tea.

Try Turmeric Ginger Tea, Irani Chai, and Pudina Chai as well.

Ingredients

Tandoori chai ingredients.

Milk – Use whole milk (full-fat milk) for the best flavor. Skim, low-fat, or plant-based milk also works.

Tea – To make the masala chai, Use Assam or Darjeeling tea (chai patti). You can use either loose tea or tea bags.

Chai Masala Powder – You can make Chai Masala Powder at home or buy a packet. Homemade is much, much better, though.

Sugar – I use granulated white sugar, but you can use brown sugar, jaggery, or sugar-free substitutes.

You can also add ginger and tulsi leaves to the chai. Check out my detailed Masala Chai recipe to make the best Indian tea ever.

The most important thing you will need is clay pots (Kulhad). You can find these at any pottery store near you or even online.

How To Make Tandoori Chai

Make The Tea

Heat 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat.

When the water comes to a boil, add

  • 2 teaspoon loose black tea (or 2 tea bags)
  • 2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chai masala powder

and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Chai masala, tea leave and sugar added to boiling water in a pan.

Add 1 cup of milk and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Milk added to the pan.

Strain the tea using a tea strainer.

Note – You can make the chai however you like. The uniqueness of this recipe is the smoking process.

Straining the tea.

Smoke The Tea

While the tea is cooking, heat a clay mug (kulhad) over direct heat until it is very hot. Rotate it with a tong so that it heats evenly on all sides.

Clay pot heating over the direct heat.

Keep the hot mug in a deep pot and pour the strained tea into the hot mug.

Hot clay pot kept in a deep pot and tea poured in it.

The chai will froth vigorously like a volcano and pour into the pot.

Frothing tea.

Once the frothing has subsided, pour the hot, smoky tea into a fresh teacup or a clay mug and serve immediately.

Ready tandoori chai served in a mug.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make kulhad chai without kulhad?

You will need a clay pot or any earthen pot to make this chai, as you need to heat it on a direct flame. The clay pot also contributes to the unique earthy flavor of this chai.

Where to get the kulhad from?

The easiest way to get kulhad is from the local market. Traditional clay pot vendors sell them and other clay pot items, such as matka, at a very reasonable price.

But as this tea is becoming more popular, you can also find kulhad in utensil shops. If you don’t find it anywhere, try online on websites such as Amazon, etc.

Can I make vegan tandoori chai?

Yes, you can replace dairy milk with plant-based milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, or cashew milk.

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Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai) is a delicious twist on regular tea. Masala Chai is smoked by pouring it into a hot kulhad (clay mug). Here is how to make it at home.
5 from 3 votes

Tandoori Chai Recipe (Kulhad Chai)

Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai) is a delicious twist on regular tea where Masala Chai is smoked by pouring it into a hot kulhad (clay mug). Here is how to make it at home.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons loose black tea (chai patti) (or 2 tea bags)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chai masala powder
  • 1 cup whole milk (full-fat milk)
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Instructions 

Make The Tea

  • Heat water in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • When the water comes to a boil, add black tea, sugar, and chai masala powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add milk and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain the tea using a tea strainer.

Smoke The Tea

  • While the tea is cooking, heat a clay mug (kulhad) over direct heat until it is very hot. Keep rotating it with the help of a tong so that it heats evenly on all sides.
  • Keep the hot mug in a deep pot and pour the strained tea into the hot mug.
  • The chai will froth vigorously like a volcano and pour out into the pot.
  • Once the frothing has subsided, pour the hot smoky tea into a fresh teacup or a clay mug and serve immediately.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

You can make the tea however you like. The uniqueness of this recipe is the smoking process.
To make a big batch, heat a clay matka and use it to smoke the tea. I call it Matka Chai 🙂

Nutrition

Calories: 91kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 59mg, Potassium: 161mg, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 198IU, Calcium: 138mg
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