Thursday, January 16, 2014

I made food: chai from scratch

When it comes to caffeinated drinks, I'm definitely a tea person. And my favorite kind of tea is chai. But I've never had "real" chai before, just teabag and powdered versions. Until the other day! For my birthday I got a make-your-own chai kit, and I finally got a chance to try it out this week.

This kit is really cute (and smells heavenly)--here's what's inside:

It's got three kinds of black tea (two tins each): cardamom tea, earl grey and ceylon tea. It also contains star anise, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns. You can mix up your own blend of spices and teas, but the kit includes a recipe to get you started.

Since I'm a chai newbie, I followed their directions. Here's what they recommend:

Two pieces of cinnamon (I used three because I'm a cinnamon nut), 8 cardamom pods, 8 cloves, 6 peppercorns, 1 anise pod, and 3 teaspoons of tea (I used one of each kind).

You add the spices to 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. (It was already smelling delicious at this point!) Then you add 3/4 cup of milk, 6 teaspoons of sugar, and the tea. Lower the heat and let the tea steep for a few minutes (depending on how strong you want it).

Then you strain the chai and you're done! The recipe makes about two servings.

The chai was delicious! Just sweet enough, very smooth and not bitter, but with a spicy kick at the end. It was a great drink for a rainy afternoon. And I love the fact that I can keep refilling the tins as I run out of ingredients.

The process of making chai from scratch is not as scary as it sounds, so give it a try!


  1. That sounds like a great kit!! I am of Indian descent and I make chai at home all the time.. the traditional indian kind.. Here's how I make it:

    I use the same spice mix as you presented in this post.. but i blend it into a powdered form in that ratio so that I have a chai mix ready at all times without counting the pods and pieces.

    I use a 60% water to 40% milk ratio for a cup.. sometimes 70-30 depending on my mood. sometimes 50-50.. depending on how milky i want it to be.

    I start by pouring in water into the pan .. adding sugar (as per your taste), 1tsp of tea (for each cup) and a 1/4-1/3 tsp of the powdered chai mix (for each cup).. once it's boiling I add in the milk and let it boil again.

    I then strain it so that the leaves and everything else gets caught and I get a nice strong chai! If you make it this way the chai will be much darker than the colour of your chai but the flavours will be richer, stronger with a good spicy kick to it.

    1. Oooh that sounds delicious! I'll have to try your way next time!

  2. Hi! I am from India and the idea of a DIY chai kit cracks me up. Probably because it is a staple at everyone's house :) I am from South India which has a coffee-drinking population but I live in Gujarat, where people can have tea 24x7!
    We brew a strong cup by mixing half a cup water and half a cup milk (for 1 person). When it begins to heat, add a tbsp of sugar (more, if you prefer it sweet) and a tbsp of chai patti (tea leaves). Bring to a boil and strain. If you prefer masala chai, when the milk begins to boil, add in 2 pods of elaichi (cardamom) and freshly crushed ginger (an inch). If you want it fancier, add a small stick of dalchini (cinnamon) and 2-3 cloves. You can even add basil leaves or mint leaves... it leaves you refreshed. Brew the chai till it is a deeper brown colour. It will taste yummier IMHO :)

  3. Ahh I love chai tea, and I love the idea of having a DIY set! I think I'll go look for some cut tins/pots and the ingredients soon :D

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