Create your own Chai Tea delight

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by Sherry Kline, Make-it-yourself Mom

azfamily.com

Posted on November 2, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 2 at 11:30 AM

Have you purchased Chai tea latte from your favorite spot & asked yourself: 'Can't I make this cheaper?'
Yes, you can!

Not only can I have you making your own Chai tea lattes, I can also show you how to make a great Christmas gift for your friends and family! Making the tea is so easy and can be made one cup at a time or you can make a large batch that's refrigerated. Then all you have to do is heat up a nice cup of Chai tea or pour it over ice for a cool drink.

I got this idea from my very dear friend, Linda Singh. She gifted me a beautiful Indian spice container (also known as a masala dabba spice box) that had all the spices needed to make the perfect cup of Chai tea. This delicious beverage originated in India where families have their own family recipes and it's usually consumed after each meal to help the digestive system. The spice container is a round, metal box with a tight lid. Inside are seven small bowls that hold each spice needed for the Chai tea. These containers come in a couple sizes and can be found on-line at Amazon (for the larger, 9' size; around
$25)  or CostPlus (for the smaller, 6' size; around $9.99).

As everyone knows, spices can be pretty pricey if purchased at your local grocery store. You can go to your local health food store (like Whole Foods, Sprouts, or any of the mom-and-pop places that are around the Valley). Their prices are pretty reasonable. Because I like to get my spices all at once and don't want to do any running around, I make my spice purchases on-line at www.mountainroseherbs.com where you can find good quality, organic spices in bulk for a lot less money. If you purchased a 1/2 pound bag of each of the seven spices (that would be enough for eight gifts) it would cost around $40.00. That averages out to be about $5 for each gift. Adding that amount to the cost of the container, your looking at spending around $15 for each person. Not only is this a relatively inexpensive gift, it has a nice Make-It- Yourself twist that tells our friends and family that they are special! For a few dollars more, you may want to include a tea strainer which can be purchased at Cost Plus World Market for around $3.

Now, not everyone is a Chai tea lover. You may want to consider purchasing the spice containers then put in the herbs and spices that are good for either Mexican or Indian food. In fact, the families in India usually have several containers in their kitchen; one for Chai tea, one with spices for curry, one for sweet spices and then maybe another one for savory spices. I will list the herbs and spices for both Mexican and Indian foods, just in case that's the way you want to go.

If you find that you are unable to purchase the spice containers but would like to do something along these lines, you can do that! What I have done is taken each spice in the recipe, put it in a small plastic bag or in a small square of cheesecloth and tied them up with pretty ribbons. I put the spices in a simple gift bag along with the recipe. Very easy and very festive. You are still making an effort to make this yourself and that's the point, right?

Have fun with this and if you have any questions, you can contact me at sherrykline@mchsi.com.

Mexican Spices
garlic powder
sea salt
chile powder
Mexican oregano
ground cumin
cayenne pepper
chipolte chile powder

You can add or delete any other spice that you like when making Mexican food. You may want to include your favorite recipe.

Indian Spices
tumeric
cumin seeds
cinnamon chips
cardamom pods or seeds
whole cloves
coriander seeds
dried ginger

Again, you can add or delete any of these spices.

Chai Tea for One
Recipe By: Linda Singh
Serving Size: 1

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon chips
1/2 tsp. cardamom pods, whole
1/4 tsp. cloves, whole
1/4 tsp. cardamom seeds
1/4 tsp. dry ginger root
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. allspice, whole
1 Tbsp. black tea leaves, (or one black tea bag)
1/2 cup milk, (can substitute soy milk)
Sugar to taste

Instructions:
In a saucepan, put in water and all the spices and simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes. Add the tea leaves and the milk and continue cooking uncovered until milk froths, about 5-10 minutes. Do NOT cover this time and watch the pot carefully so that the milk does not froth over the top. Sweeten to taste. Pour into a cup through tea strainer and serve hot.

This makes a great drink in the summer. If making one cup at a time, let tea come to room temperature and serve over ice.

Chai Tea in Bulk
Recipe By: Linda Singh
Serving Size: 16

Ingredients:
12 cups water
2 Tbsp. cinnamon chips
2 Tbsp. cardamom pods, whole
1 Tbsp. cloves, whole
1 Tbsp. cardamom seeds
1 Tbsp. dry ginger root
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
1 Tbsp. allspice, whole
3/4 cup black tea leaves, (or 9 tea bags)
6 cups milk, (can substitute soy milk)

Instructions:
You can make a bouquet of the spices in cheesecloth. Double layer about 18" of cheesecloth and place all spices in the middle. Bring edges to the middle and tie with kitchen string or anything else that will keep the bouquet closed. Otherwise, you can put the spices directly in the water and after the milk has frothed (as stated below), you can strain the liquid through a colander lined with cheesecloth into a large bowl. Making a bouquet makes it a little less messy.

In saucepan, put in water and all the spices and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add tea leaves (or bags), and tea and continue cooking, uncovered until milk froths. Watch saucepan carefully so the milk doesn't froth over the top and burn.

Strain liquid through cheesecloth-lined colander or remove bouquet. Add preferred amount of sugar. Serve immediately, hot, or bring to room temperature and store in air-tight jug in the refrigerator. This beverage is good served hot or over ice for a cool drink.

Related Chai Tea links:
> Tea spice containers from CostPlus; search 'spice containers'
> Tea spice containers from Amazon  ; search masala dabba spice box
>  Tea spices   

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