Chai and I go back about 6 or 7 years, when I first discovered it at a local coffee shop. Back then, my chai of choice was heavy in sugar and light in spice, and most likely, powdered. These days, I prefer chai that I make myself at home, with a strong spice kick and less sugar.This chai recipe is completely adaptable for your taste preferences – maybe you want more sugar, or more spice. It’s up to you – make it yours. You do you!
When I first started making homemade chai, I liked to grind up a whole nutmeg to include in the mixture. However, after a stint of unexplainable internal gastric distress, I stopped including nutmeg. It may or may not have been the nutmeg, but given nutmeg’s history of being a bit on the poisonous side, I decided to cool my jets with the nutmeg. Most reasonable people would have just used less nutmeg, but I guess I’m just an all or nothing kind of girl.I like to grind my spices up with a mortar and pestle, starting with grinding the smallest ingredients first. I do the fennel seeds, then the peppercorns, followed by the allspice berries, cloves, cardamom, and lastly, the cinnamon sticks.
If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, I would put the spices between two kitchen towels and roll them over with a rolling pin or heavy duty glass. You can then just shake them into the boiling water.After the chai has finished simmering for 30 minutes, strain it into a container, add equal parts of milk and chai to a saucepan – heat, serve, and enjoy!
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 30 black peppercorns
- 30 allspice berries
- 20 whole cloves
- 10 cardamom pods
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 2 inches freshly peeled ginger (cut into quarters)
- 10 teaspoons loose leaf tea
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 6 cups water
- Milk, to serve
- Measure 6 cups of water into a saucepan - bring to a boil over high heat.
- Grind spices, using a mortar and pestle, starting with smallest spices first fennel, peppercorns, then allspice berries, cloves, cardamom, and lastly, cinnamon sticks.
- Add spices, tea, and ginger to boiling water - simmer for 35 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a storage container.
- Add sugar; stir to dissolve.
- To serve, heat equal parts of milk and chai in a saucepan - heat until steaming, not boiling. Alternately, you can serve this iced, wait for chai to cool, and pour equal parts of milk and chai over ice.