The first thing I ever made in the kitchen EVER was chai. That was long ago...when tapered jeans were cool the first time (now cleverly re-named "skinny jean")...or back when you would fold over and roll up the bottom of your straight jeans so that they LOOKED tapered. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about! I digress...but aren't you glad I don't write a fashion blog?
Over the last few years, my palatte has gotten a little adventurous wanting more than just my childhood "textbook" chai. So I decided to dig. I searched chai and low. (I couldn't resist) and tasted and re-tasted...
Chai spice recipes are like snowflakes. No two recipes are the same. Each person has a particular idea of what Chai should taste like. Some like it with nutmeg, some like it milky, some like it with ginger, etc, etc.
I prefer my chai with:
- 1:1 water to milk ratio
- very mild sweetness (sugar, not brown sugar or honey)
- black assam tea brewed to optimum steep
- moderate cinnamon flavor
- strong ginger flavor
- a gentle mix of the other flavors: cloves, cardamom, pepper, anise seed
1 cup water
1 cup 2% milk
2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp loose black tea leaves (mostly assam tea)
1/2 tsp chai spice (chai spice recipe follows)
1/2" fresh grated ginger (A MUST)
Heat water in a pot over med-high heat. Add sugar, grated ginger, tea, and chai spice. After 4 minutes of a rolling boil, add milk. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Strain using a fine mesh sieve. Enjoy!
Chai Spice Blend
1/4 cup cinnamon
1/8 cup cloves
1/8 cup white peppercorns
1/4 cup cardamom pods
1/2 nutmeg (not 1/2 cup! 1/2 of one unit!)
1/4 cup ginger powder
Grind all ingredients in a spice grinder until it become a very fine powder.
Chai spice can be gifted in small sealed containers, just a few tablespoons each go a long way.
To make a complete "chai spice kit", package in a basket:
- a tea sieve ball
- a box of black assam tea
- a small jar of your homemade chai spice
- a ceramic mug (or pair of mugs)
- Masala chai recipe and handwritten note
- and of course a small silver spoon for some extra 'bling'! :)