Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chai Tea Mix

This post goes out to my mom... a true chai addict, with the hopes that she will one day read this handy post and make a batch all by herself.

But...  I know my mom better and I've accepted the fact that it's probably never going to happen.

So for the rest of you die hard fans out there, I'm going to hook you up with a recipe for the most delicious chai tea mix... ever.

I recently did a post on how to make masala chai tea from scratch. It's super awesome.  But..... it's one of those things that takes a little advance planning (steeping spices in water for a period of time before adding your tea, milk and sweetner). This chai tea mix is one of those things that you can make a big 'ol batch of so when a craving hits, you can have a mug of hot, milky, spicy tea in less than ten minutes.

If you've ever prepared any type of curry you've most likely come across recipes that call for toasting and grinding whole spices before adding them to the final dish. Toasting spices in a dry pan or oven helps to release their essential oils and intensifies the flavor of the final dish.  The same logic applies to making chai.

Cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, black and pink peppercorns and star anise are toasted in the oven for five minutes.  After the spices have cooled a bit, you're going to crush 'em up a bit (trying to cram a whole cinnamon stick in your tea bag isn't gonna work).  Then, all you have to do is stir it in to some black tea.  Ginger is commonly used in most chai tea blends, but using ground or fresh ginger was a little impractical in this preparation. The next best thing: crystalized ginger!  Chop it up and add it to the tea and spices and you have one badass jar of chai tea!

Chai Tea (makes approximately 12-16 teabags
From The Kitchn

12 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon whole red peppercorns (optional)
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves and/ or star anise
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup loose black tea

Preheat oven to 350°
With a sharp knife, split the cardamom pods in half. Place in a pie tin along with the peppercorns, fennel, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant. Remove and cool.
Crush spices lightly with a rolling pin or in a mortar and pestle. You may have to crumble the cinnamon stick with your hands.
In a bowl, toss the spices, candied ginger and tea together until blended.

Brewing Instructions
tea for one
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk (I use almond milk)
1 tablespoon of Chai Mix placed into a tea bag
Honey to taste

Bring the water to a boil and add the teabag. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Add the milk, turn on the flame and reheat until hot. Remove from heat, discard teabag, sweeten to taste, enjoy!

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