We are totally addicted to chai these days. I’ve always liked it, but in the past, I was too
lazy intimidated to make it myself. My Mother-in-law makes wonderful chai for us when she visits from India. But when she wasn’t around, we just tended to go without.
My husband and I were talking a few months ago about how we’re always rushing around in the morning and never take time to connect before we start our day. So we decided to have “Chai dates” every morning before we go to work. (I’ll admit, we still don’t do
this every morning, but it is a fairly regular event now – and we both love it!)
So in order to make these “chai dates” happen, I had to…learn how to make chai. So I called up my MIL and got her recipe. After some trial and error, I think I’ve mastered it.
Here’s the recipe and a few pointers for beginners. (By the way, everyone makes chai differently – so feel free to experiment and try out new stuff!)
Equal parts: Milk & Water
Fresh Ginger (grated – 1 tsp or so)
Green cardamom pods (opened – 3-4)
Cinnamon sticks (1-2)
Sugar (to taste)
Loose Tea Leaves (2-3 tsp.)
I usually make chai for just the two of us, so I start out by filling one teacup full of water and one of milk (that way I know I’ll get a full 2 cups). Dump the liquids into a sauce pan and turn the heat on to medium-high.
Next, add some fresh ginger,* and all the spices. Bring to a boil.** Remove from heat. Add sugar and stir. Finally add loose tea leaves and let it brew for a minute or two until it is strong enough for your tastes. Strain out the tea leaves and spices, serve and enjoy!
*At first I added chopped up fresh ginger, but I found that you use a lot less if you grate the ginger (with a cheese grater) straight into the saucepan. Go light on the ginger until you find out how strong you like it – the first time I grated it, we had some super strong ginger-tea!
**Do not turn your back on the saucepan – the minute you do, it WILL boil over. Just ask me…
Cardamom pods can be tricky to open. The best method is to open it from the flatter end, not the end that is pointy. They look like a banana, but you want to open cardamom opposite than you would a banana. It is waaaay easier, let me tell you!
Use whole milk, chai will never turn out as rich as it does in India unless you use whole milk!!! (we also use non-homogenized)
Please don’t use those “chai-tea” mixes (WHY do people insist on calling it Chai-tea?? That’s like saying Tea-tea) …it is really fun and not too difficult to make chai yourself.
Other Chai resources:
A great thread in the IndianTies forums: Chai
Do you have a chai addiction? How do you get your fix? Tips – favorite recipes? We want to know!