What’s life without a little spice? For the month of April, Sawsan from Chef in disguise challenged us to spice things up by making our own spice blends from scratch for the Daring Cook’s Challenge. She gave us several different recipes from all over the world; a dip blend, pie spices, meat rubs and soup spices and challenged us to make up our own spice blends. The great thing about spice blends is that we use them in almost everything, and the more you think about this challenge, the more “I could make that at home” moments you’ll find.
My, “I could make that myself”, moment came when my sister got off the plane from India where she’s been studying for 3 months and informed me that we were going to have to find a great chai place here because she was going to go through withdrawal. So this month, I attempted to make my own chai spice blend.
One of the first things I learned upon starting to research some recipes, is that I have been ordering tea tea at Indian restaurants. Chai literally translates to tea. The spiced, sweetened milk tea that most people not from India think of as chai tea is actually chai masala. I also learned very quickly that everyone has a different recipe for the best chai ever. And none of them are the same. My favorite chai masala is from this little Indian restaurant that I frequent, but going all the way across the city just for a cup of chai seems a little extreme. The first recipe I chose to try was from The Hathi Cooks and has 5 spices in it: black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
2 1/2 teaspoons black pepper (finely ground)
6 teaspoons ginger
1 5/8 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1/4 teaspoons cloves
Mix all of the spices together in a bowl. This will make just over 10 1/2 teaspoons which will make 20-40 cups of tea depending on how much spice you like. (The recipe on the original site will make much much more if you’re interested in scaling up).
To brew your tea:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (full fat for best flavor)
1 tsp or 1 bag of black tea
1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon spice mixture
Dump everything into a pot. Bring just to a simmer then stir vigorously. Bring to a full boil, remove from heat and stir well. Return to heat, bring back to a boil. Remove from heat, stir again and allow to steep for 2-3 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
I really liked this first recipe even if it doesn’t quite match my favorite blend. It is a wonderful little mix to have on hand for when you want a quick cup of chai at home while working on the computer or curled up with a great book.