Friday, November 23, 2012

Homemade Chai - From My Kitchen

Make your home smell absolutely wonderful and have a cup of chai to boot. This recipe is one of my favorites during the holidays and I have been making it for guests for years. Its always a crowd pleaser.
So far since the weather has turned colder, I've had a pot of the chai spices simmering on my stove almost constantly. Many store bought chai mixes or bags have unwanted junk or nutmeg in it. I usually adore nutmeg, but apparently it is toxic to babies while they are in the womb and not good to have while breastfeedng? I was very suprised to learn this since I had no idea about this for my first pregnancy.

What you will need

4 cups of water
1 stick of cinnamon
1 slice of fresh ginger (a chunk of candied ginger would work too)
1 small handful of cardamom pods
6-10 whole cloves
6-10 whole peppercorns
2-3 whole star anise
4-6 whole allspice

2-3 teabags (any plain flavor teabags work - black, rooibos,decaf black are great choices)
2 cups of whole milk (almond milk or soy milks work great with this too)
1 Tbsp of sugar (or to taste)

1. Boil water with spices in medium sized pot for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better I'd say (just make sure it doesn't dry up) down to 2 cups of liquid.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Strain spices from pot.
4. Steep tea bags in liquid for 5 minutes.
5. Remove teabags and return liquid to stove. 6. Add sugar and milk. 5. Heat back up on medium heat to be sure not to scald the milk.

Serves 4

Once you have made my version, maybe consider personalizing it by adding more or less of what you would like!

Other considerations:
Vanilla Bean/Extract
Fennel Seed
Orange Peel

If you aren't sure what the effect will be if you add more or take away, here is a brief description of what each or the spices adds to the Chai spice blend from my recipe.

cinnamon - slightly spicy, sweet, very aromatic. Gives it that warm cozy feeling.
ginger - spicy/hot
cardamom - is the exotic base spice for this blend. It is slightly spicy, herbal and kind of citrus-like.
cloves - strong flavored, warm and spicy. A little of this goes a long way. Very aromatic. In my humble opinion it is slightly floral tasting.
peppercorns - its a classic... its spicy and warm. 
star anise - aromatically sweet. It tastes a bit like licorice and fennel.
allspice- I used to think that this spice was a combo of a bunch of spices because of its name... but it turns out its named that because others agree: it tastes like mixture of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg

Its fun to play around with recipes and create something truly unique. Maybe your version will end up being your family's next best kept secret?


1 comment:

Mrs. Michelle said...

Lovely! Also my favourite beverage. I thought I should add that there is a big difference between black and green cardamom seeds in taste. Green is best for Chai. I had the priviledge of having an Indian woman teach me to make her Chai. It tasted amazing. You are looking so cute pregnant. I didn't know that about nutmeg either! Good to know and kind of scary. Nutmeg is one of my favourite spices. I will miss it next time.