Every afternoon, a bunch of my Indian colleagues will get together and brew a pot to share with whoever wants it. They use a coffee pot, microwave and a bunch of ingredients that they've got stowed away in a cabinet in the lunch room. Their chai is a thick and heady with spices including fresh ginger root. Inspired, I decided to make some of my own at home.
I make masala chai concentrate which is nice because each member of the family can sweeten their chai to their taste.
Iced Quasi-Masala Chai Concentrate
- 4 bags of black tea
You can use the equivalent amount of loose-leaf if you have it
- fresh ginger root, 1" knob, sliced into 1/4" slices
- 1 T peppercorns, whole
- 1 T cloves, whole
- 1 T allspice, whole
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
To serve (12 oz glass)
Pour 6 oz of the brewed chai into the serving glass. Add 6oz of milk (whatever kind you like) and stir. Sweeten to taste, adding ice if desired.
Spices in your local megamart (AB saying) baking and spices aisle are usually ridiculously expensive. $5 for a few measly cinnamon sticks? In the long run, it may be cheaper than getting $3+ chai lattes at Starbucks but is still hardly truly economical.
When buying spices for chai, I opt for ethnic markets or at least the ethnic aisle. I live in an area with a lot of ethnic and in particular Indian markets so I've got plenty to choose from. When in a megamart, though, I steer the cart towards the ethnic aisle where there are usually spices in small cellophane packets for less than a $1.50. Still not as great as if I were to get them from the Indian market but a lot better priced than if I bought them in the little glass jars.