Chai spice blend

By • November 26, 2011 • 14 Comments



Author Notes: There is no single formula for Chai spice. it varies from brand to brand & home to home. Indian Masala tea comes in many many flavors and every one of them is deliciously unique. From a simple addition of smashed fresh Ginger root & crushed cardamom to complex blends incorporating a dozen spices.. My preferred method of ginger root & cardamom only gets me so far as a cup of chai, so I cobbled up a mix of 5 spices (inspired by Chef Raghavan Iyers newly launched line of spices, turmeric trail).. While its near impossible to decipher the exact proportions of the spices used in the commercial version, I used the list of ingredients on the package to come up with my own. Its been through a rigorous set of testing on regular spiced chai as well as experiments with hot chocolate , a version of chai spiced shortbread, and my thanksgiving apple and pear pie!. The flavor of the blend is pretty intense and all you need is about 1/4 th of a tsp for a strong cup of chai or chocolate. Classic case of a little goes a looong way. Its not worth making larger quantities unless you're planning to make industrial amounts of tea.Panfusine

Makes ~ 2 tablespoons

  • 2-4 cardamom pods (seeds only)
  • 6-7 cloves
  • 1 stick cassia cinnamon (1 cm x 4 cm in area), broken into tiny pieces
  • 8-10 black peppercorns (smashed)
  • 1 tablespoon dried ginger powder
  1. In a small cast iron skillet, add the cardamom seeds, cloves, smashed peppercorn and the cinnamon pieces & toast them over a gentle heat till the spices begin emitting their characteristic aroma. Transfer the spices into a stone mortar and allow to cool down slightly.
  2. Add the ginger powder & pound until the spices have ground into a fine powder. Sieve the masala using a fine tea stainer. transfer the bigger bits of spices back to the mortar & repeat the process of pounding & sieving until you're left with very little spice grit (which you can toss into any stew or dish you're planning to make). Sore in an airtight container.
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9 months ago impeesa

this is destined for some biscotti

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9 months ago Panfusine

Sounds Great! Thanks!

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over 2 years ago Grandma Kathy

Reading this reminds me of a question I had while grinding up some coriander seeds and using my M&P for the first time. It is made of something like marble (bought it at BB&B) so I wondered if it could be washed in the dishwasher or at all?

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

I like to scrub out the grinding surfaces to get out all traces of the previous spice, so have never used the dishwasher ever to clean M&Ps. it may be in my head, but I can never get over the feeling that I can somehow 'smell' the previous blend that was made..

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is lovely, I love chai. A friend just gave me a box of Organic Tulsi Chai, it contains black tea, organic tulsi (basil), black peppercorn,ginger, green cardamom, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and mace. Its very different with the basil and really like it. Your chai sounds wonderful. I just wondered how difficult it is to grind a cinnamon stick with a mortar and pestle or do you use a spice grinder. The cinnamon sticks I have are very hard to break and very hard. Is cassia more brittle?

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks sdebrango.. I've always ended up using Cassia rather than the curly cinnamon simply because I can snap them with my hands, which I can never do with the cinnamon sticks. (I reserve those for cooking in big pieces with my lentils!). and the cassia, being flat, has a better surface area exposure to the skillet when toasting, so it gets done along with the other spices.. The Tulsi chai is great. its a standard grandma's remedy for coughs & colds..

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over 2 years ago susan g

I'll let Panfusine speak for herself, but I believe when the spices are roasted they are easier to crush or grind.

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

absolutely right susan g. (in this case though, the quantity is such a small amount that the difference between the force required between toasted & raw is not very much!)

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks panfusine and also susan g, I tried to break a regular cinnamon stick with my hands and decided I would need a saw. Will try roasting to see if that helps if not will get cassia. I didn't know tulsi chai is a grandma's recipe for coughs and colds. Good to know!

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

When you mentioned that you'd made a variation of the Peppermint Truffles using your Chai spices in place of the peppermint schnapps, I was about to ask if you'd consider sharing your recipe. Thank you so much! I think this would make lovely Christmas gifts, especially for my daughter. Thank you, thank you.

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks Boulangere, I ran out of my stock when I used about 2 tsp for my thanksgiving spiced apple pie. I just had to go back & count the spices out (yep, literally) & remake the spice blend to my satisfaction before taking pix & posting it. Its actually more satisfying crushing the mix fine with a mortar & pestle than just using the coffee grinder.

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over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh yes, I have several m&ps for different applications. I'm very much looking forward to making this. Thanks for sharing all your tips, too.

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this! Thanks!

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Thanks drbabs!