You know what I’m really craving? A cold glass of spicy chai with a dab of honey and cream. UGH YUM.
I have a pal who is the Chai Goddess (sometimes also referred to as Chai Queen, but only by me, just now). She drinks it nearly everyday as far as I know, and has a very discerning palette with this delicious blend of spices. So, it only made sense to have her taste test my homemade chai recipe so I could get it just right. If you make this recipe, just make sure to send her a portion as a sacrifice to guarantee a great tea, or she will smite you down! Jk. Or am I…?
I originally planned to write up this recipe as a hot chai, but being such a toasty summer, I can’t stop thinking about this iced version, which, I only tried about because the Chai Queen asked me if it would be good iced. And man it’s the best thing ever. Below I’ll add the hot version as well (the only change is steeping instructions).
In addition to being super yummy, the hot spices curbs hunger! I like to drink a glass between lunch and dinner and it helps me feel full and fend off snackies.
8 green cardamom pods
4 black cardamom pods
1 star anise
1/2 tsp whole cloves (about 10 cloves)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 cup black tea
A hunk of ginger (about .5 ounces fresh ginger)
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
Peel and dice ginger root and spread pieces out on a baking tray. Place tray in the oven on the lowest temperature with a wooden spoon propping the door open for 2 hours. This is to dry out the ginger.
In the meantime, place black and green cardamom*, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick in a mortar and pestle and grind up. The spices don’t need to be a powder, you just want to break things up enough so the pieces are roughly the same size. This way, you’ll get an equal amount of each spice in a spoonful. Once the spices are crushed, move to a medium bowl.
Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife down the middle, length-wise. Scrape out seeds and add to the bowl of spices. Then, cut the pod up into small pieces and add this to the spice mix as well.
Once the ginger is dried up, add it to the mix, as well as the black tea. Mix up with a spoon to distribute all the spices equally.
Fill an empty teabag about halfway, or 1/2 tbsp. It doesn’t have to be exact. Just remember that the tea and spices will expand when hydrated.
Plop a teabag into a glass or jar, one bag per 12oz. Add cold, filtered water up to the top and give it a stir or a shake and leave in the fridge for no less than 12 hours. In my experience, this tea takes forever to get bitter, so don’t even worry about it if you leave it in the fridge for a day or two before drinking. Then, just dress it up with whatever sounds good to you! I like milk and honey (the honey really brings out the kick of the spices!)
Steep with hot water for 10-15 minutes for ideal spiciness, then remove bag. Just like with the iced version, it takes a long time to oversteep this, so I often just drink it with the bag still in. Add your favorite additions like milk and honey (and whiskey in the winter!).
*The pods are kind of big, and won’t break down like everything else. Just make sure they open enough and the seeds come out. Then, you can just leave the pods in the mixture for added flavor.