Indian Tulsi (Holy Basil )Tea

By DK on Jun 29, 2009
"..100? what 100? who does she think she is kidding! She crossed 100 posts already!!!! I read your mind dint i? You are right - It is not my 100th posts overall, but I sure hit my century for Indian food - which by the way will surely raise eyebrows of my dear friend to whom I insisted that making Indian foods alone is not going to be the forte of my blog, when I started out. She used to complain earlier that I rarely made posted Indian food, that I was not patriotic  to my country, that I would lose out on cartloads of readers because of my stubborn attitude. I have my own reasons for being the way I am which I don't think is important enough to mention here, but I have to insist that I certainly am patriotic enough (much much more than some I know!!!!!!!) and that if sole reason for me to have this blog was to market/earn money/to get more readers then I would not have lasted this long and the future of this blog will indeed be bleak! I have no endurance for anything that does not interest me enough.
Holy Basil-Indian-Tulsi-Chai-Tea
Having said all that my Indian cuisine has reached 100 at last and it has taken me about 2 yrs to do that!! Anyways when I got to know this mini landmark, I thought of making something with an ingredient very special to my homeland - Holy Basil. This is one of those rare plants which is called Tulasi (Sanskrit) or Tulsi in almost all Indian languages! Holy Basil holds a special place in India - Ayurveda having adopted it for many of its medicinal properties. Its nicknamed as 'Elixir of Life" and not without reason! "Headaches often?" "Heavy cold and coughs?","Stomach disorders?", "Heart related problems?"...."...."... Have Tulsi! I will let Wikipedia sing this Tulsi's medicinal praise - more about it here Indian-Holy-Basil-(Tulsi)-Chai-Tea But why the tag "Holy"? Because it is considered immensely holy esp. for the followers of Vishu (namely Vaishnavites). " Did you know that a single woman who prays to Goddess Tulsi will get married soon with a good husband? The childless will be bestowed with a healthy and beautiful baby and the ones suffering from illness can be cured if they pray wholeheartedly to Goddess Tulsi. " say the devotees. For the very scientific minded, all I would say is that you should sit down with elders and listen to the various mystical stories. They are worth all your time. It reminds me of the time I spent with my grandmother listening to such stories. She had this unique way of being immensely expressive and manner of gesticulating that used to make us (all the grandchildren that is..) sit with rapt attention and gobbling up her every word! She used to have this big vessel full of food (being our dinner time..) and would take a little with her fingers (We Indians eat with our fingers...its priceless and not at all comparable to eating with spoon! Now you don't want me to get started on how you think eating with spoon are more hygienic - I can tell stories why you need spoons and we don't!) and pass it around in our outstretched hands while continuing with the story! Aaah! Those days!!! Indian-Holy-Basil-(Tulsi)-Chai-Tea OK OK before I get completely lost with my memories,  let me come back to this post. Phew! Holy Basil a.k.a Tulsi Tea ( or should I say Chai Tea) was something my mother made while I was growing up. Not on a daily basis but esp. on those days when the home was filled with red noses! That used to be such a relief to our blocked nasal passage and relieve us of the irritating cough. You can enjoy this Tea in various ways : 1) You can make a chai tea in the manner described below 2) You can use dried Tulsi leaves to make the same tea if its available where you live 3) You can just seep all the ingredients except the tea leaves,milk and sugar and enjoy it like Tea (or is it Tea Tea!!??!!!) slightly sweetened with honey. ...enjoy it any way you like. Since the taste differs you can play around with the ingredients (increase/decrease) the ingredients given below and adjust it to your taste. The measurement is for 2 people
Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 15 min
Cook Time: Under 15 min
Serves: 2 people
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 cloves
  • 2-3 green cardamom, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp tea leaves (I use Indian red label)
  • milk and sugar to taste
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Dry roast the spices until aromatic.
Now drop the spices into the water along with the tea leaves. You can alternatively powder the spices and use too.
Add approx 6-10 Holy Basil leaves (depends on the size of the leaves). Or you can use 1/2-1tsp dried tulsi leaves.
Add milk to taste. If you prefer, you can add the milk separately later while serving too. I usually boil my milk along with this tea mixture. Whatever works for you - no hard or fast rules.
Now with a tea strainer, strain the tea and pour it into teacups.
Add sugar to taste and serve Hot. For me my evening is considered incomplete if I can't enjoy a hot cup of tea, some snacks with one good Book! Now that's comfort people! And oh yes - Put your feet up too! Holy Basil-Indian-Tulsi-Chai-Tea
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28 Responses to “Indian Tulsi (Holy Basil )Tea”
  1. Neena Bhasin

    I have been drinking Tulsi ki chai for 3 years and “touch wood”, no coughs, colds or flu!
    Boil 6-8 tulsi leaves in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes till the colour of the water changes to light brown. Pour the water into your mug with taj tea bag in it. Dip dip dip, add milk and sugar! Yummy tea ! Makes 2 medium mugs of tea.

  2. Akbar Ali Habib

    Dear Mr. Bret, I read your note of March 2013, today. I have Basil Seeds.I bought from Home Depot Houston for 99 cents. We used half a packet and have several plants of Basil and bearing flowers and seeds. I was in Orlando this month with my grand children. I wish I had read your comments before I visited Florida. Be that as it may, my phone no is 832 462 4911. I will be happy to assist you as you may require.

  3. This was eye opening for me. I was shown tulsi and have been doing diligent research granted mostly on the health benefits. I have been making it just straight with some lemon balm and putting it to steep for 5 minutes. Granted this is way better.

    Question – can I store it in the fridge for later with the milk in it? I live in Florida and I love iced tea and not much on hot tea because it is so hot here.

    Also do you have ideas on where to get cardomon seeds at a good price online?

    Last one will a tulsi plant grow in Florida and if so do you know where to get seeds?

    Sorry a lot if you don’t have time answer all good.

    Thank you

  4. chantelle

    how long do you boil the tea ?

    Just for a minute or two –DK

  5. Tani

    New to this page !! You have the most amazing Indian cusine recipes !!!! Thank you like so much !! And there’s nothing like cooking and serving delicious food ! :mrgreen:

  6. DK..
    Tea making is a holy process too in my house and you SHOULD NOT be saying there aren’t hard and fast rules :mrgreen: The rules are HARD & FAST :-P else my father can find out what ‘golmal’ I did :)
    For the prefectttt :mrgreen: tea, you should ALWAYS add the tea decoction into warm milk.. not milk into the tea.. Try it!! There is a certain difference you will notice!
    Sorry about this preachy lesson.. I can’t have a food lover, saying no rules about making tea..


  7. ale

    DK, you have a really good collection of recipes!!! I tried the Basil tea last evening, and it has me hooked. I’m down with a stinking cold and have had two more cups since. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy the India chai sans tulsi again! A perfect, perfect recipe. Thank you soooo much!

  8. What abt me and madhu then ???

    You both are my bestest too – but the fact is you dint ask me those questions ;-) Guess you knew I was little wacky right from the start!LOL. Madhu it seems figured that out while we were in school!! I seemed to have that invisible aura around me!!!!!(chortle)

  9. Congratulations!!! and who is that dear friend ????

    she commented here – take a guess

  10. Congrat on reaching 100th post! We make tulsi tea very regularly becoz of its medicinal benefits. We ve always had tulsi plant in our house and my mom makes sure we regularly water them :)

  11. 100? already. U are kidding! I mean you did it buddy. Yeh Yeh! I sure did ‘raise my eyebrows’ when I read this post!! and what a way to celebrate the 100th post.
    May sacred tulsi bestow you with all the good luck and happiness in life. :D

    Your post reminded me of my childhood days, where I, being the eldest of all the grandchildren would show my ‘dadagiri’ for a bigger share of food when my ammama used to feed us. hehehe!!

    It has been a while that we spoke, Call me this weekend when free.. take care.


    heheh 100 already!? Exactly!Thats what I thought too – yeah seriously its been ages babe..will call ya..muah!

  12. nice color and wish to have a cup now..have bm it:)thanks!!

  13. Congrats DK…Basil tea had a long back, feel like having rite now!

  14. A perfect Tea, i could call this…
    We make a KAADHA (extract) from tulsi, along with other ingredients(almost same as yours) and just have it with pinch of salt and bit of milk…it takes time to develop its taste, but is indeed much more beneficial than any other cough syrup of the world.
    And yeah…i can go on ranting about eating with hand vs eating with spoon…I always get irritated when people feel that eating with hands is manner less.Its ok to use fork and spoon while you are FINE DINING, but why all the havoc when one is eating in the comfort of his own home.Food never taste good to me when i eat it with spoon(except ofcourse soups etc)
    And Hey congrats on hitting century…am sure many more are bound to follow :-)

    Oh you are a boon! I was breaking my head for DAYS to remember this word “Kaadha”. I had read about this process somewhere long back but while making this post I was trying to mention that – but GAWD – couldnt remember the term for the life of me – you are heaven sent. I wouldnt have slept today otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so relieved. PHEW! And yeah – you are bang on with the taste of food eating with spoon vs hand! The hand somehow manages to make the food all the more tasty!

  15. hi DK,
    I love masala chai’s wow! there are so many variations for the spices used for a gorgeous tasting tea :) I liked the additon of fennel, haven’t tried adding it to tea, thanks for the lovely tulsi chai recipe. the pics are beautiful …easily tempts one to have a cuppa right away!
    Congratulations!on the mile stone achievement! Wishing u many more success

  16. lovely post,,..i am sipping my morning tea and readin ur post,…congrtas,..

  17. Congrats on reaching 100th post. I am trying hard to grow a tulsi plant in my sun room, but no luck.

  18. Congrats on 100th Indian recipe in ur blog…I love basil in my tea…I do pluck fresh leaves from my tulsi plant while making Tea..

  19. Awesome pics.. Fit to be on a gourmet magazine. Congrats on reaching 100 Indian recipes.

  20. Congrats on reaching 100 Indian recipe posts! Tulasi tea looks great. I have a tulasi plant and should use the leaves like this. :)

  21. Here’s to 100′s more! I would love to grab that cup of tea. Feeling so dull! I have the tulsi extract from Anjali. I used to have a tulsi plant in US, have to find some here. The weather here is not good though, one day it’s so hot and the next day it is raining.

    Too much light in the second picture, right? I keep forgetting to ask this, last week when we were chatting (with Dee)did you get my last message about tastespotting and foodgawker?

    Yes this tea would be perfect for you now. I had to struggle to keep my Tulsi plant alive. It dint like too hot either, almost withered away which was surprising to me since Indian heat is much much more than here!. Anyways I am no good with plants. Had to lots of pampering and running around moving it to make it grow!. It has survived and its grown quite well. It was a baby when I got it. Yes to the light – It was on purpose – wanted to only showcase the tea and nothing more… Give it more importance among other things that is! Yes- I sure did. I am already on both of them under DK

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