Okay so if you don’t already know, my underlying love for Chai tea is pretty real, even maybe a slight (but healthy) obsession. I live and breathe this stuff and drink it on a daily basis.
I did recently write a quick recipe guide to milk infused tea, but afterward it struck me to follow it up with a post with different varieties and flavours of Chai to try. Cos seriously, there are so many forms and flavours!
To make a basic Chai blend
I generally find the base spices behind Chai listed below. You can use the below quantities as a loose guide to suit your taste and adjust the spices accordingly. Sometimes I like to add more cardamom for spice and other times I add more cinnamon for a stronger cinnamon flavour..it all just depends on what I’m feeling like.
2 whole star anise (or you could use fennel seeds. Fennel gives a more gentle liquorice scent.)
1-2 cardamom pods (or 2-3 tsp. cardamom spice)
1 small ginger, grated (or 1 1/2 tsp. ginger spice)
1/2 tsp. cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon)
1-2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons loose black tea leaves (or 2 black teabags)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1. Gently crush/bruise spices in a small skillet and throw them into a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and bring to the boil.
2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and just let everything simmer in the saucepan for approx. 10 – 15 minutes. If you are using tea bags, take the tea bags out.
3. Strain the chai into a teapot and serve hot.
*If you are doing a milk infused Chai tea, just replace the water for milk when adding it to the saucepan.
Varieties you can try:
Using the above spices, you can add extra ingredients for a slightly different flavour Chai. I love mixing flavours up at times and below are some great subtle ideas to try next time you make Chai at home. Again, you can choose to add less of any spice or any other spice, it’s pretty much all about experimenting with flavours here.
Add: 1-2 vanilla beans. For a stronger vanilla flavour to come through, I don’t use any star anise and also use slightly less cinnamon and cardamom.
Add: a few squares of roughly chopped white, dark or milk chocolate to the blend. I love adding a little bit of dark chocolate sometimes for a richer and decadent taste. It’s also nice to up the cinnamon a little bit in this one.
Toasted Coconut Chai
Add: 1-2 tbsp. of shredded coconut. If you can be bothered, fry the shredded coconut on a fry pa first with a little bit of oil just to slightly toast the coconut. Like the vanilla, coconut is such a subtle taste, I would use less cardamom and cinnamon.
Sticky Honey Chai
Add: 1 tbsp. honey to the mixture when boiling in the water. For major sweet tooths or after dinner treats, I especially love this one.