A lot of people are unaware the word chai literally means ‘tea’ so ordering a ‘chai tea’ is essentially ordering a ‘tea, tea’ but what you get is ‘spiced’ tea or ‘masala’ chai.
Generally in the winter I switch from drinking coffee to drinking spiced tea. I have a really hard time finding a place that serves a good chai. I really enjoy Bangalore Rose Chai from Enjoyingtea.com but alas I ran out. I also enjoy a good sweet coconut ginger tea with vanilla and coconut milk. Instead of reordering I got the chance to ask the magical question…
Can I make my own?
The answer is yes.
What is in chai? Some, but not all of these things:
- milk (I find milk alternatives blend better with the flavors)
- sugar or maple syrup
- black tea
- black pepper
Additional ingredients I found and tried
- star anise
- rose petals
Recipe? Well now. That’s a bit harder, your nose and taste buds will tell you.
There are so many ways to make spiced chai, because people all have different tastes so dont be afraid to experiment and write your own recipe.
It doesn’t matter if you have the whole or powdered version of the spice or some of both, that is completely ok. Using the internet to look up dozens of Masala Chai recipes let’s call the following ingredients the core of the recipe, nearly every recipe I looked at had these ingredients, the quantities and extra additional ingredients surrounding them can change drastically from recipe to recipe… but we have to start somewhere? right?
Actually that lead me somewhere interesting but I wasn’t the right place, not all chai is the same… I went back to square one and looked at the ingredients list of the chai I drink the most and make up amounts of those ingredients, and then tried mixing them around until I was happy with the result.
Using your smallest sauce pan start with about 2.5 – 3 cups of water brought to a simmer and three tablespoons of loose leaf black tea. or a few tea bags. If like me your smallest sauce pan is being used then you may do this via the microwave in a pinch.
My base chai recipe:
2.5 cups water
3/4 cup Almond milk
1.5 Tablespoons black tea (Behora Assam)
1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
10 black pepper corns
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 thin slices ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon corriander
3-4 tablespoons sugar, white granulated
Ok, you could totally stop there if you feel lost but for the adventurous spice users. I find smelling the steam and then smelling the individual spices helps me decide what to add. Once you decide then add in small amounts and taste your way to the correct amount but make sure to write it down.
Let the spices and the tea simmer for about 5 minutes add 1 or even 2 cups of milk, sugar/maple syrup/ vanilla once removed from the heat. steep for a few brief minutes.
Pour though a strainer (or maybe a coffee filter for powdered recipes) to separate the tea and spices.
Good luck in finding the perfect spiced tea!