We started drinking Chai a good year ago now. Not proper Indian Chai but the well known brand, tea bag variety.
Recently however the well known brand that we used decided to re-brand their packaging, putting less tea bags in and charging more. Meaning our bag of Chai cost more than twice as much!
Now we like Chai but paying 25p a bag seemed a bit much! Sod it I thought I’ll make my own!
D’ya know what? It’s dead easy. The only downside is you have to strain the tea before drinking but to be fair thats not that much of a hardship!
You can also customise your blend to your own taste.
I roughly ground some cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamoms which I then add to some loose black tea in a teapot and let infuse for 5 minutes. That’s it done, all you have to do is strain the Chai as you pour it out and add milk and sugar to taste.
If I had had any to hand I would have added a little dried ginger (not ground though as that would be too powdery).
If you want to give it a go here are the amounts I used;
4 sticks of cinnamon, 6 star anise, 8 cloves and 5 cardamom pods
Pulse the above in a coffee or spice grinder so they are roughly ground, you don’t want a fine powder.
Use roughly 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture with one teaspoon of tea per mug of Chai.
At some point I will have a go at brewing a proper Indian Masala Chai. For this the whole spices are simmered in the water with the tea before milk and probably a little too much sugar is added.
Here is how Rick Stein recommends doing it in his excellent book Rick Stein’s India.
1 black cardamom pod, bruised with a rolling pin
15 green cardamom pods, bruised with a rolling pin
4 black peppercorns
8cm piece of cinnamon stick, broken in 1/2
4 tsp black tea leaves (equivalent to about two bags if using bags)
2tsp sugar, plus extra to taste
Put the spices into a saucepan with the water. Bring back to the boil, add the tea and turn down the heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes. Stir in the sugar and milk, bring back to a simmer for 3 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer and serve, adding more sugar to taste.
You could try making the delicious Indian sweet Jalebi to go with your Chai. Mr Stein has a recipe from the same book the above recipe is from.
Right… think I’ll go and make myself a nice cup of Chai!