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Author Notes: This chai recipe comes from my book Food for Friends: Homemade Gifts for Every Season. I had almost forgotten about chai until I read Amanda's comments on the subject (Feb 12 blog). This chai has quite a bit more than cardamon, but since you mix up a mess of it and keep it in your cupboard, it’s easy enough to grab a little during the three o’clock slump. A benefit to making your own mix is that you can add as much or as little sugar as you like. The same goes for the milk. When the weather warms up (and yes, I know it will) you can drink it iced—a nice change from ordinary iced tea. Oh, and Amanda, if you see a blonde with a Pekinese, that might just be me.
Homemade Chai Mix
- 5 tablespoons coriander pods
- 2 tablespoons whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 8 2-inch sticks cinnamon
- 2 whole star anise
- 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Combine all of the ingredients except the ginger in a bowl and crush coarsely in a mortar in manageable batches. If you don’t have a mortar, use a rolling pin, or even easier, pulse briefly in a coffee grinder. Just don’t overdo it, you want pieces, not powder. Stir in the ground ginger and store in an airtight jar.
Chai for one
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon chai mix
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed Assam or other black tea
- Combine the milk, chai mix, and sugar in a Pyrex measuring cup and nuke in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until hot. Let steep for 5 to 10 minutes while you brew the tea. Fill a mug halfway with the tea, and strain the infused milk into the cup. (Adjust milk and sugar quantities according to your preference.)