Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Masala Chai

I LOVE Chai.

I order it often when I'm out. But I'm going to guess that it's not usually made from beautiful whole spices.


I decided I wanted to make it at home.

Chai is made from four things.

  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Spices
  • Sweetener


What kind to use? My regular everyday tea, for iced tea, is just plain old Lipton, which I love. But I think this calls for some nice strong Indian black tea leaves.

So I consulted some friends who work for Teavana. I let them know I wanted a strong tea to stand up to all of the spices. They suggested Assam.

Assam it is!


Most of the recipes I looked at called for whole milk. I always order a non-fat Chai, but this was an experiment, so I decided to go with the flow and used whole milk.


This was the most versatile part! There were a tons of different spices. Two seemed to be in almost every recipe. Cardamom and Cloves. YUM!
I ended up choosing Cardamom, Cloves, Allspice, Star Anise, Cinnamon and Fresh Ginger.


I just used honey. =)


So I gathered my spices.

2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 almost whole Star Anise
about a dozen whole Cloves
8 or so Allspice Berries
3 Green Cardamom Pods
about an inch and a half of sliced Ginger Root.

Add that to a cup of water and bring to a boil.

Let is steep for 20 minutes.

I tried to kinda crush some of the spiced with the handle of a wooden spoon... but they really weren't having it.

After steeping... add 5 cups of whole milk and bring that to a boil.

Time for the tea.

Add tea leaves.

Steep for 10 minutes.


Add honey.

Strain out spices & tea leaves.





That's it!

Plus we added cinnamon sticks to our mugs.

So for a first try, this came out really good.

Jon & Ericka had never had Chai and both really liked it.

Ericka and I agreed that next time definitely NOT whole milk. WAY too thick and creamy. Who would ever think that thick & creamy would be a bad thing? While it wasn't really bad, it just had too much of a mouth coating thing going on, know what I mean?

Also, it could have been hotter and spicier and stronger.

So next time, I'd add more spices in general and up the ratio of Cardamom a little while I was at it.

I'd also add a little more tea.

Instead of steeping the tea off the heat, after the last boil, I think I'd just turn the fire down to low to keep it hotter and maybe make it a little stronger.

Do you make Chai at home?

I'd love to hear how you do it!


USA Kiwi (aka Kylee) said...

I made chai tea in the crockpot.

I used non fat milk, cinnamon sticks, powdered sugar, cloves, cardamom pods, ground ginger... and some vanilla I think. Tea, too!

Bob said...

I've never made it at home, but I used to make it all the time when I worked for Starbucks. Of course I used the steamer and we had a syrup for it, so unfortunately I'm not going to be much help. Heh.

Michele said...

I never had chai tea. Where do you usually buy it from? Starbucks or DD? Does it automatically have sweetener in it when you order it? Basically what I want to know is how should I ask for it if I go to DD?

Spryte said...

I'm not sure if they have it at Dunkin' Donuts... (I don't really have any nearby) But when I order it out, I've never had to sweeten it.

I just order Chai or a Chai Latte... a Chai Latte doesn't have espresso in it... but they steam the milk.

I'm guessing Coffee Houses use a pre-sweetened syrup or mix (cuz Bob mentioned syrup!)

Debbie said...

Would you believe I have never had chai tea? I am such a big coffee drinker!!! It does look great though and it's a terrific idea. This makes me want try one next time I hit Starbucks!

girlichef said...

I have never made chai at home...unless it's the kind already in the tea bag...but this sounds really good (minus the mouth coating)! I bet the house smells awesome, too :)

Cathy said...

I've never had chai tea, either, but you certainly make it sound appealing. I will definately have to give it a try!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I make tea just like this in the winter. My mother always called it "yogi tea". I haven't tried it with the allspice though - great idea!

Ben said...

I love Chai too, but have never made it at home before. I think the only thing I am missing is the tea. I'll look for it so I can make my own.

Donna-FFW said...

What a great experiment. I have never made it at home, it sounds perfectly delicious. I am sure you will perfect it to your liking next time!

Joanna said...

I adore chai, but since most of the coffee shops I visit make it with a mix, that's the way I've always done it! You can even by a carton of it at Whole Foods (I forget the brand name), but yours looks awesome! I'm definitely going to try that.

DDpie said...

I've made it at home before (similar to yours but minus the anise), but because I'm the only one who drinks tea, I steeped the tea and spices, then left them in the water to cool down, stored the jar in the fridge. Then I strained it and added the milk and I used sugar. It was really good. I didn't use whole milk either, YUCK!

The Cooking Photographer said...

A friend of my makes chai tea here for us sometimes, but he crushes all the spices up first and it the cinnamon scums the water. I love how you just used the whole spice. I want to try it this way.

Patti T. said...

My son got me hooked on chai. I absolutely love it. I use a recipe that uses powdered coffee creamer etc. It is good and has a long shelf life, but yours looks amazing. I had a hard time finding the cardamom and when I did it was pretty expensive. I make mine decaf and you have just made me think I HAVE to have a cup NOW.

Cheryl said...

Wow, I have had Chai once and it just wasn't my bag, it sure looks good tho!

Danielle said...

I've never had Chai before. I know a lot of people who like it. Way to go in making your own! it looks fab!

Culinary Alchemist said...

Looks Awesome! I love Chai, although I usually cheat and use the Oregon Chai concentrate (Slightly Sweet Original) in the box... :)

ST said...

I make chai a lot (I'm Indian) =) When we make it, we usually put half water and half milk (I use 2% milk)...so instead of the 5 cups milk you used, we would use 2.5 cups water with 2.5 cups milk. This should get rid of that thick, creamy taste. Also, we put in a bit more cardamom and if you crush the cinnammon and other spices a little before putting them in to boil, it might bring out their flavor a bit more. Chai is a great comfort drink on a cold day!

Spryte said...

Thanks for the tips!!