Mint and Cardamon Parsi ‘Choi’ or Chai – An Indian Tea

Start the New Year Like You'd Start a New Day, With a Fragrant Cup of Parsi 'Choi or Chai- Indian Tea Wishing readers all around the globe a very Happy 2014! 

In the same vein as last year, I’m starting the New Year like I start each new day, with a steaming hot fragrant cup of Chai or Indian tea. 

And the flavorful cup of Indian tea coming up today is a personal favorite Parsi-style ‘Choi’ (as pronounced by us Parsi folk.) 

Infused with mint leaves and optionally lemongrass, along with fresh ginger and cardamom, this cuppa ‘Choi’ has been kick starting my mornings ever since I can remember; a tea I can prepare with my eyes shut (most mornings, I’m pretty sure I do just that.)

There are three key aspects to keep in mind while making Parsi ‘Choi’ or Chai-Indian Tea:

1. ‘Brewing and boiling’ are important steps when it comes to making a perfect cup of tea, and even more so when the tea in question is any version of Indian Chai. The complex mix of spices, aromatics, herbs, milk and tea leaves, all need to infuse together for a truly flavor-packed brew. 

Brewing and Boiling Are Key to Making a Flavorful Cup of Indian Chai or Parsi 'Choi'

Brewing and Boiling Are Key to Making
a Flavorful Cup of Indian Chai or Parsi ‘Choi’

2. Parsi cuisine’s use of lemongrass in ‘Choi’ (Indian tea) brings a whole new dimension to the much-loved Indian Chai. My recipe lists lemongrass as an ‘optional’ ingredient, to be used based on personal tastes for this strong Asian herb and its availability. Mint, ginger and cardamom impart plenty of great taste to the Parsi ‘Choi’, even in the absence of lemongrass.

3. Grated fresh ginger in a Chai offers anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties and is known to help fight colds and open sinuses, especially at the start of a day. For a milder flavor, cut ginger in slices instead of grating it. Also worth noting that Chai demands the use of fresh ginger root, I wouldn’t suggest adding ground dried ginger, which is rarely if ever used in Indian cooking. 

Before I start on the brew, a quick note to check out the new e-books filled with well-known Parsi cuisine recipes, recently released by Rita of If you’ve taken a shine to the spiced tangy goodness of Parsi food, this is a must-have collection straight from a Parsi home cook to your kitchen. 

Parsi 'Choi' or Chai, an Indian Tea Infused with Fresh Mint, Lemongrass and Ginger along with Cardamom

Parsi ‘Choi’ or Chai, an Indian Tea Infused with Fresh Mint, Ginger and Lemongrass along with Cardamom

This recipe appears in the April 2014 issue of Live Encounters Magazine as a Comfort Beverage.

Mint and Cardamom Parsi 'Choi' or Chai- Indian Tea
Serves 2
A flavorful cup of Parsi 'Choi' or Chai-Indian Tea infused with mint and/or lemongrass, fresh ginger and cardamom, brewed to perfection.
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 8-10 mint leaves, shredded by hand
  3. 1 lemongrass leaf stalk, about 12 inches long, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
  4. 6 whole cardamom, pods cracked open (or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom)
  5. ½ inch or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and grated, or cut in large pieces for a milder flavor
  6. 2 teaspoons loose black tea leaves or 2 bags of black tea
  7. ½ cup milk of choice (see note)
  8. Sugar to your taste
  1. In a deep saucepan, heat the water, shredded mint leaves, lemongrass, whole cardamom (open the cardamom pods and put the seeds and shells in) and grated or cut fresh ginger.
  2. Bring the herbs and spices infused water to a rolling boil and add the black loose tea or tea bags. Let the black tea brew on the flame for 2 minutes and then add milk of choice.
  3. Once the Chai preparation comes to a complete boil (keep an eye at this stage so the tea doesn't boil over,) turn down the flame and simmer for 3 minutes till the flavors have blended and you see a rich brown color to the tea.
  4. Strain the Parsi 'Choi' into a teacup and enjoy the steaming hot brew with your favorite tea snack or draw inspiration from my High-tea snacks collection in this post.
Note on Milk in 'Choi' Preparations
  1. From fat-free to whole milk, and soy milk to rice or almond milk; feel free to use your milk of choice per dietary preferences in all Chai preparations. The recipe above provides a strong cup of Chai; for a milder outcome, increase the quantity of milk as per taste.
Peri's Spice Ladle

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  1. says

    We have a mint and lemongrass plant in the kitchen. Mom always adds them while boiling tea :) There is also something known as “Gavti chaha” meaning “Grass chai”. the tea leaves looks like grass, hence the name. Love the “choi” :)

    • says

      The best two plants to have on hand, Gauri…in addition to chili and cilantro (coriander)! Yup, I’ve heard of and had ‘gavti’ chai, similar technique. The gujarati chai called ‘lili (refers to the green lemongrass) chai’ uses a similar set of flavors. Thanks!

  2. says

    Delicious cup of tea..I always add ginger and cardamom but have never tried using Lemongrass.. Will try adding it too.. Btw I could use that cup of tea today as it is such a gloomy, cold day here in Ohio..
    Great recipe Peri:)

  3. says

    Thank you so much Peri for the mention of my Parsi Cuisine E-Cookbooks on your site. You have been a good friend and I may say a colleague in our passion for sharing good food, thoughts and recipes. Best wishes, Rita Jamshed Kapadia

    • says

      Thanks Rita…I enjoy our joint passion for food immensely and how beautifully you bring authentic (and my favorite) Parsi meals and customs to the world. Glad to have met on this blogging journey and look forward to many more Parsi treats from you. Good luck with the e-books, they are a precious resource. Warmest wishes, Peri.

  4. says

    Sounds delicious–I’ve never tried it with lemongrass, but I have some on hand (and all the other ingredients, too) and it’s tea time. Guess what I’m going into the kitchen to brew up right now?

  5. Zareen says

    Hey Peri,
    Congratulations on another year of tempting and tickling our palates. Thank you !! So, raising a cup of good cheer…the much loved Parsi ‘Choi’ for another very successful year.
    Best Wishes for 2014

    • says

      Thanks dear Zareen, for your precious support and kind words. Wish you an amazing year ahead as we start out this year with a clink of ‘virtual cups’ filled with our much-adored Parsi ‘Choi’…Cheers! Hugs and best wishes, Peri.

  6. says

    This really looks good, Peri! I received a chai spice tea mix as a gift this year, and I like it a lot, but I am so happy to learn from you how to make it from scratch in an authentic way. Thank you very much for the recipe!

    • says

      Chai mix is a great convenience to have on hand, in fact I always have a blend in my pantry for those lazy mornings:) Though you’ll adore the fresh herbs and aromatic flavors in this version, they add a whole new level to Chai. Enjoy the brew!


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