When I’m craving tea, Masala Chai is what I’m usually in the mood for. Here in America, the name has been shortened to Chai, which technically just means tea, but what you’ll actually get when you order it is a spiced, sweetened tea with milk. (which is Masala Chai)
For this version, I used lots of spices, just a small amount of honey, and coconut milk to add creaminess. If you’re avoiding sugar, feel free to omit the honey; the coconut milk will add a bit of natural sweetness and richness to the tea. Even with the addition of honey, this Chai won’t be nearly as sweet as what you’re probably used to if you’ve purchased the cartons of concentrate or ordered it in coffee shops.
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
yield: 4-6 servings
4-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
8 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 star anise
4 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea (or rooibos tea for a caffeine-free version)
2 tablespoons honey, optional
2 14-ounce cans full fat coconut milk (to make the whole batch or 1:1 coconut milk : chai per serving)
- Place all ingredients except for the tea, honey and coconut milk in a medium pot.
- Bring to a boil, and then cover and turn down so it’s at a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the tea and turn off the heat. Cover and steep for 4-5 minutes.
- Strain the spices and tea. Now you have your Chai concentrate that you can mix with coconut milk or your favorite milk, or use in the Mandarin Chai Hot Toddy (below)
- To prepare the Chai, Combine equal parts Chai concentrate and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk while heating. To get it extra frothy, blend in a blender or use an immersion blender.
Store your Chai concentrate in a jar in the fridge for up to one week.
Since it is Thirsty Thursday and all, I couldn’t resist turning this Chai concentrate into a Hot Toddy, which has been my favorite thing lately with this crap weather we’ve been having. Since I love the combination of citrus and spice and mandarins are so abundantly in season right now, the pairing was a no brainer.
Mandarin Chai Hot Toddy
prep time: <5 minutes
cook time: <5 minutes
yield: 1 drink
1.5 ounces bourbon (I like Bulleit)
3 ounces warmed Chai Concentrate (above)
1/4 cup fresh mandarin juice (about 2)
1 teaspoon honey
12 ounces boiling water
mandarin slices and cinnamon sticks for serving, optional
- Combine all ingredients in a mug and garnish with a mandarin slice and cinnamon stick, if desired
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