“Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things.”
As I sit here writing to you in my kitchen I can smell the delicious scent of chai simmering on my stove. I thought it might be fun to share the recipe for homemade chai I am currently enjoying with you in case you find yourself with a bit of extra time at home and the desire to fill your house with delightful warm fragrance.
A Few Facts about Chai
- “Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea”
- Origin of chai is said to date back more than 5000 years
- According to multiple sources drinking chai can improve health through the ingredients that are used in its making. Popular spices used and associated benefits are ginger/black pepper for stimulating digestion, cardamom to improve mood and cinnamon to support circulation and respiratory function. You can find more information on these benefits in the links below.
How to Chai
Overall in life I believe that there is generally no wrong way to do things. I would say this principle is consistently applicable to the making of chai in your home so feel free to make edits to this recipe as you go. For my current recipe I use the following ingredients:
- 8 peppercorns (more peppercorns make the chai spicier)
- 7 whole cloves
- 1/8 tsp of nutmeg (depending on my mood I sometimes double this, it makes the chai taste sweeter)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 12 cardamom pods (crush these with the flat side of a knife or a mortar and pestle if you have one)
- 1 tsp anise seed (this is your savory or licorice taste)
- 3” peeled and sliced into 1/8” sections (the more ginger you add the more bite there will be to your recipe)
- 5 whole allspice
- 1-3tsp of vanilla extract (more makes sweeter tea)
- 4-5 cups of water
- 2 black tea bags (I like Red Rose tea because it reminds me of staying at hotels)
For most of these spices I buy them at Basha Foods in Calgary (I find they have the best selection and price for what I am looking for) although I am sure you could order them online as well. I haven’t seen cardamom pods at any of the local grocery stores where I live, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find them there.
- Put all ingredients excluding your tea bags and vanilla in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce temperature; let your pot of chai simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Once you feel like your flavor is strong enough you can add the tea bags to your mixture. Letting the mixture continue to gently simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Keep in mind that you want a very strong flavor in this step as later on we will dilute our chai mixture with either milk or more water.
- Take your pot off the stove and add the vanilla extract giving everything a stir to blend it.
- Filter out all the physical spices and tea bags. I use a French press to filter mine; however, cheese cloth or any type of finer strainer should work fine.
- Once you have your chai filtered you can mix it with either hot water or milk. I typically do half milk half chai mix. Feel free to add sweetener such as honey or brown sugar if you like.
- Enjoy your delicious cup of homemade chai!
Pro Tip: When I make this recipe I usually make 4x the amount and then store it in my fridge in Mason jars (if you dump the mix in hot to your Mason jars make sure you preheat the jars by running warm water over them so they don’t crack). Throughout the week when I want chai tea I take some of my Mason jar mix and combine it with milk and pop it in the microwave.
I hope you enjoyed making this recipe. If you have any of your own pro tips let me know. I would love to hear them!