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 (gluten-free, vegetarian).
About Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai)
Tandoori Chai (Kulhad Chai) is your same old Masala Chai with a twist, that 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 which 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 Tandoori Chai. The tea froth vigorously like a volcano once poured into the hot kulhad and gets infused with the smoky flavor in the process.
It is a great beverage to make on rainy or cold days when you are craving something warm and soothing.
I have mentioned a basic recipe to make tea in the recipe card, but you can make the chai however you like it. It’s the smoking process that is important in this post.
Milk – Use whole milk (full-fat milk) for the best flavor. Having said that, skim, low fat or plant-based milk also works.
Tea – Use Assam or Darjeeling tea (chai patti) to make the masala chai. Both loose tea or tea bags can be used.
Chai Masala Powder – Make Chai Masala Powder at home or buy a packet. Homemade is much much better though.
Sugar – I use granulated 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 that you will need is clay pots or as they are called Kulhad in the local language. 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 sugar, and 1 teaspoon chai masala powder and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add 1 cup of milk and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Strain the tea using a tea strainer.
Note – You can make the chai however you like. The USP of this recipe is the smoking process.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
You will need a clay pot or any earthen pot to make this chai, as you need to heat it on a direct flame. Also, the earthy flavor that is the USP of this chai comes from the clay pot.
The easiest way of getting kulhad is from the local market. They are easily available with traditional clay pot vendors who also sell these along with other clay pot items such as matka at a very reasonable price.
But as this tea is growing more popular day by day, you can also find kulhad in utensil shops. If you don’t find it anywhere, then try online on websites such as Amazon, etc.
Yes, just replace dairy milk with any plant-based milk like almond milk, soy milk, or cashew milk.
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Tandoori Chai Recipe (Kulhad Chai)
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons loose black tea (chai patti) (or 2 tea bags)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon chai masala powder
- 1 cup whole milk (full-fat milk)
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.