I have to admit it – I’m obsessed with Chai at the moment. I was never a fan, but then a friend took me to a Chai tent where they made their own chai rather than using pre-made teabags. I’ve had teabag chai before, and I wasn’t impressed. It tasted dusty and stale and generally blurgh. However, to the Chai Tent – the day was cold and grey and wet, and it really felt like winter was on the way. A perfect day for a hot cup of chai.
So I had a cup, and it was delicious. Spicy and warming. I was instantly smitten, and decided I’d work out how to make it when I got home.
We cook a lot of Indian at home, so I was pretty sure we’d have all the ingredients.
Sure enough, we did. Now I know that not everyone will have these just sitting around, but it’s very easy to buy them in the supermarket these days.
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 3-5 black peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 2 thick slices fresh ginger
- 3 cloves
- 1 teaspoon of tea leaves, or 3 teabags
Crush all the ingredients except the tea, in a mortar and pestle to release the flavours. Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a saucepan, then pop in all the crushed ingredients. Boil for around ten minutes, then add the tea and boil for a further couple of minutes.
At this stage you can add 250mls of milk if you’d like, then bring everything to boil. I prefer not to do this as you get a skin on the chai (especially with full fat milk).
Pour the chai into a cup through a strainer, add warm milk if you want, and voila! You have deliciously spicy, warming homemade chai.
You can keep any leftover chai and warm it up later, or I’ve found that it goes brilliantly in a flask for later in the day.
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