There is something deeply tactile and comforting about chai.
The rich creamy warmth, the bite of pepper and spice, the soothing scent of ginger and nutmeg, the slightest hint of brown sugar sweet.
In this season of home and coziness and community, making chai at home from scratch is an almost spiritual experience.
The milk and tea and spice cannot be hurried. They must be slow simmered and stirred for their flavors to come fully alive.
Its an opportunity to slow the chaos of the day, be fully present in conversation if the moment is shared, or to be still with your own heartbeat if alone.
In this fast forward, distracted, busy world, is there someone you need to share a cup of homemade chai with today?
Or maybe it’s simply your own soul that needs nourishing….
Masala Chai Spice Mix
1 1/2 cup dried ginger, finely ground
1 cup dried ground cinnamon
1 cup black pepper, finely ground
1 cup ground cardamom
1/2 cup ground cloves
1/2 cup ground nutmeg
1/2 cup ground allspice
Mix all spices together thoroughly. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar.
*This is a concentrated mix that makes enough to last for several months and can be used in a variety of recipes. Granola, apple cider, and sweet breads are a just a few recipes we have already used this mix in.
*Our family and friends love the spice amounts listed above. However, this is an extremely versatile mix. Like a stronger ginger flavor? A raving fan of cardamom? Spicier chai more your cup of tea? Feel free to adjust how you like your tea the best.
*I chose to grind whole spices using a coffee grinder, but purchased pre-ground spices work just as well- simply increase the amount used in making the chai (to taste) as purchased pre-ground spices will not be as strong in flavor as whole spices.
Homemade Masala Chai Tea
Per 8 oz serving:
1/2 cup whole milk (the fullest flavor will come from whole milk)
1/2 cup water
1- 2 tsp sweetener ( we love the richness of brown sugar)
1 tea bag ( the best tea is a strong black tea- An Irish or English black breakfast tea or Lipton Yellow Label- we use the Trader Joe’s Organic Irish Breakfast tea)
1/4 tsp Masala Chai Spice Mix ( or to taste- some like it stronger, some milder)
3- 4 whole star anise, if desired
Place all ingredients into a small sauce pan. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally to avoid scalding the milk, until mixture comes to a boil.
Turn off the heat, stir well, and place back over medium heat. Bring back to a boil again, turn off the heat, and stir well.
Allow mixture to steep for several more minutes, remove tea bags, strain tea carefully into a cup, and serve.
*We almost always double or triple or quadruple this recipe-one cup is simply not enough.
*A permanent coffee filter (found at most grocery stores in the coffee aisle for just a few dollars) is the easiest way to strain the chai into each cup.
*This is not a multi-tasking recipe- the milk and tea will boil over if left unattended.
*Looking for a non-dairy option? Non-dairy milk options do not allow the tea bags to steep well, however, simply mix tea and spices with water and follow directions above. Heat non-dairy milk of choice separately and combine once both are heated to desired temperature.