Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chai Concentrate

This time of year wool socks are worn, slippers are retrieved, cozy sweaters are donned, and warm drinks are sipped. 

Sometimes coffee doesn't cut it. Sometimes tea doesn't soothe. Sometime hot chocolate is too rich.

But there is always a place for spicy, milky chai.

I have been making my own concentrate for some time now as I find I can't have much caffeine in the afternoon, so most chai teas don't work for me. 

Cardamom is one of my favourite spices so it plays a significant role here. You can use seeds or crushed pods. I often have seeds around as I bake with them but pods are often a cheaper, and more accessible, option. 

This is an easy concentrate that you can store in the fridge, warm up a cup at a time and add your milk of choice, to taste. You can also adapt to your own taste. One of my favourite Vij's chai recipes uses only fennel and cardamom, some use cloves instead of, or in addition to, cinnamon. I have also made a spicy drink for sore throats with all the spices and lots of honey but without the tea.

This time of year, stay warm with a comforting cup of chai. 

Chai Concentrate
Adapted from Vij's Chai
This makes approximately 8 cups of chai, add a bit of milk, almond milk or soy milk to taste. 

8 cups water
3/4 tsp cardamom seeds or 10-12 crushed pods
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 large cinnamon stick
8 orange pekoe tea bags, decaf or regular
1/4 cup cane sugar, or substitute, to taste

1. Bring water to boil with spices in a medium saucepan. Simmer about 5 minutes.
2. Turn up heat, when it comes to boil, add teabags. Turn down heat a bit. Slow boil about 1 minute. 
3. Strain mixture through fine mesh sieve into another heat-safe pot or jug. Stir in sugar or sweetener of choice. Refrigerate until needed up to about 5 days. 
4. To serve, warm amount needed with milk of choice.