If you’re still with me after that unforgivable (but very funny) pun, I want to share with you my recipe for homemade chai in honor of this, a midsummer tea party. Chai is one of those things I didn’t realize you could make yourself until I thought about it and was like, “well, obviously it gets made at some point.” If you were wondering, that’s the provenance of about 90% of my DIY projects. Behold, Oprah-free chai:
I know it’s pretty hot to be thinking about drinking chai, but who doesn’t love an iced bev this time of year? I tried this out a couple different ways (details after the jump), and it was good hot, cold, room temp, and as an ice cube.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/2 teaspoon of already-ground)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled (or a teaspoon of already-ground)
1/2 nut of nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon of already-ground)
5 pods of fresh cardamom (I didn’t have this, so I used a teaspoon of already-ground)
3/4 teaspoon of whole cloves (or 1/2 of the already-ground)
1 14-ounce can of sweetened, condensed milk
Start by grinding the nutmeg in your coffee grinder. Since this can yield anywhere from a teaspoon to two tablespoons (why, I don’t know), it’s better to be safe than sorry. Measure out a heaping teaspoon and store the rest for other stuff. Place the rest of the spices in the grinder and get it down to a very fine powder.
Dump all of that into a pint-sized vessel with a tight-fitting lid, then spoon out your canned milk. Mix well.
Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before use so that everything can marinate, etc. Use about a teaspoon per mugful of tea (assams and rooibos are both great, though I bet this could be cool in a peppermint green, too), Some people like it a little sweeter– throw an extra half teaspoon and change in if you’re more the type to dump sugar on top of your ice cream.
If you’re going to make it into iced chai, can I recommend freezing cubes of it so your drink doesn’t get watery as it heats up? I saw someone do this with iced coffee and iced tea at a restaurant, and now it’s my secret weapon during the misery that is Charleston in the non-oyster months.
Whatever you end up doing is fine with me– wear it as a hat for all I care. Regardless, keep the jar refrigerated, and enjoy it within a few weeks.
What do you think? Made chai before? What’s your recipe’s variation?