I mentioned on Facebook last week that my afternoon cup of chai is one of my favorite parts of my day. Especially during the cool months of winter, a cup of hot chai just hits the spot!
I was first exposed to chai when I lived in India. The word chai is usually used to describe a spiced tea mix and is the drink of choice in India. One of our favorite memories of living in India is riding on the trains and waiting for the chai man to come into the train yelling, "Chai! Chai! Chai!" He would have a huge urn of hot masala chai and a collection of terra-cotta like cups that for 5 rupees (about 10 cents at the time) he would serve you. When you were done with your cup of deliciousness, you could throw your little pottery cup out the window and watch it break along the railroad tracks. So fun and much better than the paper and plastic also littering the tracks!
Living in the States, chai wasn't something that I got to enjoy very much. I have seen it for sale in the store but I have never found one that tasted good. Starbucks — a real treat for our family — was really my only option when it came to finding a good tasting cup of hot and spicy chai. Well, until a few months ago. A friend of mine mentioned that she was making chai and so I decided to give it a go. I searched around online for a recipe that would be similar the creamy, perfectly-spiced variety I love. I found a number of them and after trying and tweaking, I have found a recipe that I love. It's easy, makes a huge batch, and is the perfect blend of cream and spice. I introduced one of our neighbors to chai last week and his comment was, "This drink just changed my life." I can't promise a life changing experience, but I can say that I am in love. It's the perfect companion for sitting and chatting, baking, or any other time you crave a hot drink. Enjoy!
SPICED VANILLA CHAI
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or large blender (I use my Ninja). Blend into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container. 2. To make a cup of chai, add two or three tablespoons of mix (to taste) to 8 ounces of hot water or milk (I like the creaminess of milk! It's that easy! I love that this recipe makes a LOT of mix (about six cups). I have a cup most days and mine lasted me over a month. I've just made another batch and am ready for my afternoon cup of chai.