Cold winter days call for something that truly warms you up. This last round of snow really put me in the mood to try making this warm and cozy drink from scratch. Chai is actually the word for tea in many languages. It is believed to originate from India and is a blend of spices and black tea and is typically sweetened and served with milk. After reading various recipes on how to make homemade chai, I was surprised at the spices that are used as common ingredients. Since it is typically served sweetened, the spice level is tamed down, although it can be made to accommodate your taste preference. The spice combination I settled on was cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns. It can also include coriander, cayenne, fennel, nutmeg or star anise. As I drank it, it just seemed like a stress reliever in a mug. Everyone in the office raved about how yummy it tasted. It is warm, aromatic just plain ol’ delicious. It would be great to serve at a special occasion or even to just treat yourself after a stressful week. Typical recipes call for whole milk, but I substituted skim milk and a splash of non-fat half and half to give it a bit of richness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
- Fresh ginger, sliced thinly (about 2 inches)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom (or about 6 pods if you have them available)
- 5 cups water
- 6 bags of black tea (I used darjeeling)
- 1¾ cup skim milk
- ¼ cup non-fat half and half
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- In a large saucepan, sprinkle ground cardamom into pan. Heat over medium heat to release flavor and aroma. Add remaining spices and crush them slightly with the bottom of a cup or back of a spoon. Add water, bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow flavors to develop for about 10-15 minutes. Add tea bags and allow to steep for about 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and strain chai. Return to pan and add sugar and milk. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Serve hot and enjoy.
Curious about the possible health benefits of black tea? Click here.
For regular coffee drinkers like myself, it can be good to substitute tea to cut back on caffeine. Here’s a post from the archives to help you evaluate your caffeine habits with a little quiz.
Need more delicious recipes to fill up your mug? Check out fellow Recipe Redux members ideas below.