Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chai Tea

With the temperature quickly cooling down there is nothing more comforting and satisfying than a cup of hot chai. So I set about to make a batch today. There is no end to the diversity of recipes when making your own chai, and I must confess, that each time I make it, it is a little bit different. But it always creates a wonderfully spicy aroma that fills the house.

Chai is basically black tea brewed with spices and milk, although I usually make mine with soy milk and find it just as good, if not better. For the longest time I either bought the mixture or treated myself to chai lattes at various coffee shops. This was until my good friend Cheryl shared her relatively easy no fuss recipe. I was hooked. The added benefit, I could control the amount of sugar used or simply use honey instead. I have since experimented with adding in a few other spices. This is roughly what I've come up with:


4 C water
1 large piece of ginger peeled and sliced (vary this depending on how much heat you like)
sprinkle of cinnamon (or throw in a couple sticks)
8-10 whole cloves
10 cardamon pods crushed

Bring to boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add about 6 or 7 tsp of black tea (or about 3 tea bags) and steep for 5 minutes.

Strain liquid and add 1 1/2 C of milk or soy milk and about 2 Tbsp (or more) of honey (or sugar) Reheat gently and serve.

If you feel adventuresome, you can try adding some peppercorns and / or star anise.


Cheryl said...

You beat me to the punch, I was planning on doing a chai post in the next little while (must be the cold weather)!
I agree, soy milk really seems to make chai creamier than milk does.
Ooh, now I want some...

Carla said...

I agree, must be the cold weather. You still can do your post. In any case, my recipe was not much more than loose suggestions.

BurdockBoy said...

You know, I have never made my own chai. I've tried the commercial brands like Oregon Chai, while I liked the flavour, it was a bit too sweet. If I can find some black tea in my tea cupboard I'll have to give making my own a try. Thanks.

Carla said...

Burdockboy, I hope you do try making your own chai. It really is very simple and economical. I found the commercial brands quite sweet as well.

The Fool said...

Thanks for the chai recipe! My cupboard lacks cardoman pods, but that's now tomorrow's quest. I look forward to the alternative of making my own cup. It just makes it more meaningful. Tell your friend that her recipe's getting around.

BurdockBoy said...

I just tried this recipe and it came out great. I put in a little star anise which was tasty. My cinnamon sticks are a little weak so I may go with the powder next time.

Do you recommend a black tea to use. I am more of a coffee drinker or herbal tea, so I'm not too familiar with the varieties. I used darjeeling which seemed pretty intense.

Carla said...

the fool, hope you enjoy the recipe. I'll definitely let my friend know.

Burdockboy, I've tried a few different types of black tea and found that Assam works well. I think that I've also made it with Earl Grey. Whatever type you use, the trick is to make sure that once you put the black tea in, don't let it steep too long and then strain it, otherwise the tea will go bitter.

The Fool said...

We just finished our first batch...and it was delicious! It's easy to prep, a sensory delight (from the different smells and textures of the ingredients to the first taste coarsing through your being), and it refreshes the cabin on these cold days when the windows must stay closed. I'll have to post this one for friends (sure, I'll give your link credit). It's an experience worth sharing...and a recipe that passes along like a rhizome. Thanks!

Martial Development said...

I think Darjeeling tea works best.

Carla said...

Fool, I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. It really is a sensory delight, isn't it? By all means, pass the recipe along.

Martial Development, thanks for your recommendation. I'll have to try it with Darjeeling next time.