Happy New Year guys! Wow, how much time has passed since I promised you this Chai recipe, and so much has happened since then. How was Christmas, and New Year’s Eve? Although I always look forward to this time, sadly it’s always over too soon. Did you get some good presents? As you might have seen on Instagram, I treated myself to a pasta machine, and after some initial struggles it worked just wonderfully. Remember the list I made for this winter? Now I can check another box, and maybe I’ll let you participate in my pasta making learning process.
However, I’m not here to talk about my Christmas presents, I want to talk about Chai. Chai is a rather old trend and has already arrived in so many cafés and supermarkets. So the reason I am interested in it is because my grandma happens to have just discovered it. She loves Chai Latte, but she’s always drinking this supermarket convenience crap with too much sugar. This is why I wanted to show her the real thing.
What is Chai?
So what exactly is this chai? The term ‘cha’ derives from the North-Chinese and just means ‘tea’. Since China was part of the ancient Silk Road, silk, spices and teas spread throughout the world. So on this route, the term travelled through Turkey, Russia etc. and ‘cha’ became ‘chai’ or ‘cay’. Besides, because the term cannot be legally protected, every tea with extra spices is nowadays called ‘chai’.
The idea for the typical mixture of spices (ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon) might come from the Ayurvedic teaching of well-being. However, since in the 19th century a domestic tea plant was discovered in an Indian Assam, black tea became one of the main ingredients. Now tea could be grown in the British colonies and the Indian Chai was born. And what did the west do with it? We added milk and made it a trend beverage! Although of course the good benefits of the tea and the spices survive.
- 8 bags of black tea
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cm piece of ginger root cut into coins, 1-2 teaspoons grated
- 1 package of vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 1 tsp. whole allspice
- ½ – 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 10 cardamom pods, crushed
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 2 slices of orange zest
- 60 g of brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- About 1 litre of water
Start by bringing the litre of water to a boil in a medium pot. When the water is boiling, remove the pot from the stove and add the spices, the tea bags, sugar and honey. Whisk a bit until the sugar is dissolved.
Now allow everything to infuse and the leave the tea to draw for about 15 minutes. It may smell quite strange in your kitchen, but the taste will great!
In a next step, strain everything through a fine sieve and collect to liquid. Fill the syrup into sealable flasks and store it in the fridge. And if you want to, make a cool label and use it as a gift for someone!
Now if you want to make yourself a nice cup of chai latte, mix one part of the syrup with one part of milk. Then heat it up in the microwave or on the stove, maybe add some more frothy milk and enjoy! Honestly, I never thought it would come out that good! Of course, you can adjust the amount of syrup you use for your chai latte, and I think this version is so much better than the powder you can buy at the store. What do you think?