Friday, July 25, 2014

Homemade Chai tea concentrate

Between chai and I, it was pretty much love at first sip. My summer Starbucks drink of choice was an iced soy chai for many years. Then, a few years ago, I was afforded the delectable experience of a homemade authentic cup of chai tea made by a woman whose family had come from India. This stuff was the real deal.

And I fell even deeper in love.

In the past year, Jim and I have developed a love of Indian food, a cuisine I'd previously deemed icky and refused to even try. In trying different restaurants, I've learned that everyone seems to have a different take on the milky tea beverage. Some I love and some, usually the sweeter ones, I really quite dislike. But being exposed to so many different variations of the same drink got me to thinking. Maybe I could make my own variation too.

After experimenting a bit with different spices, I came up with one I love.

 

Homemade Chai Tea Concentrate

6 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
10 cloves
2 star anise "stars"
small chunk of fresh nutmeg (you can substitute for 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (or a small piece of fresh ginger)
8 tbsp loose black tea
3 tbsp honey

If you  have a mortar and pestle, use it to crush your spices. I do not have one, so I just broke mine up with my hands and/or the flat side of a knife blade. Add the spices and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the tea leaves. Cover and let steep for five minutes. Strain the tea into a large pitcher and discard the leaves and spices. Add the honey and stir until combined.

I store mine in mason jars and mix it with soy milk when I need a "fix." Of course it never lasts this long at my house, but it will keep for about a week in the fridge.

It's delicious either hot or iced and pairs perfectly with a good book or a close friend. Or both.

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