I feel like we’re overdue for a post about tea, so today we’re making Homemade Spiced Chai! I first started drinking tea soon after we moved to Kathmandu. At that time I was 9 and chai or chiya as we said in Nepali, was integral to socializing in our new culture. When we went shopping bargaining took place over a cup of tea. Once we moved out into the village to work at the NGO hospital, teatime was usually around 10 am. Everyone stopped working and took a break for a half hour and drank tea together. Sometimes I would go down to the hospital and have tea with the staff, other times we had our tea at home as a recess from school.
One such experience has always stuck in my memory. My dad and I had driven eight hours to the nearest city to pick up some car parts. We arrived late in the evening and were offered tea while they got our parts from storage. Now, when I say store I mean one of the little store fronts you see in pictures of Asian countries. A small room facing the street with a metal garage door that pulls down and locks when you close for the night. This one was spare, dark and full of car parts, much like a small warehouse. They offered us “special” tea, whatever that meant, and we accepted of course. Lo and behold out comes a china chocolate pot. Decorative, fancy and accompanied by demitasse china cups!
The owner served chai us mixed with some percentage of coffee which I thought was the coolest thing ever! Now that I am back in the U.S. I miss the traditions of teatime. I envy the countries that still embrace slowing down and taking tea with friends. In America I feel like we are too caught up in being busy and trying to do everything or shuttle our kids to everything. No one has time to take a break and connect. I am determined to find a way to slow down and connect more with people in my life. Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox now to go drink tea! There are a million and one variations on chai recipes and flavors out there. This is my current favorite.
I recommend fresh ginger and cardamom if you have them, but if not, ground spices work fine too. On long bus rides when we’d stop for dinner at 11 at night and finish with a strong cup of tea, it would often be sprinkled with black pepper to keep the bus driver awake. Something about the sharp pepper on top of the spicy sweet tea is irresistible to me, and I still drink mine that way. Ginger has many health benefits and in a hot tea makes a great cold fighting drink.
I hope you enjoy drinking this as much as I do! If you have a variation you love, tell me about it in the comments. Cinnamon is the only thing I refuse to ever put in my chai. I’m sure some parts of the world drink it that way, but I can’t get on board with it. Now that the weather is turning cool it’s time to throw on a sweatshirt, brew some Homemade Spiced Chai and get cozy on the couch! Extra points if you do it with a friend 🙂
P.S. Don’t forget to pin and share with those friends too!
- 2 cups (475 ml) milk
- 2 cups (475 ml) water
- 2 Tbsp loose black tea (or four strong black tea bags)
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger peeled and loosely chopped (or 1 1 /2 tsp ground)
- 3/4 tsp whole cardamom crushed in a mortar and pestle (1/2 tsp ground)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- black pepper to taste
Put the water, milk and tea into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the ginger, cardamom and sugar and bring to a boil - watch it or it will boil over and make a mess of your stove!
Strain it into cups (if using fresh spices) and sprinkle with black pepper if desired.
Keep any extra in the fridge and re-boil when you want seconds.
Adjust the spices and sugar to taste and experiment with others! +++ This is just as good or better warmed up the second day +++ The Teatime Baker - www.teatimebaker.com