This month we’re excited to share a brewing method for an authentic chai at home, and as we find ourselves in lockdown, we've included a Lockdown Chai recipe too!
Chai tea originated in India some thousands of years ago and is traditionally known as masala chai, which translates to “spiced tea” in Hindi. It has taken on the name Chai Tea in the west; chai meaning “tea” which then translates (rather embarrassingly) to ‘tea tea’.
It is believed chai was invented in the 17th century when the reigning Indian king wanted to create a healing elixir for his people. Ingredients such as black peppercorns, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom were in the mix, before the British added their touch of black tea, some years later, offering a welcomed tannic flavour to the sweet, creamy and spicy notes.
Across India, to this day, you’ll find masala chai being doled out by chai wallahs (tea persons) on every bustling street corner and simmering away in every household kitchen. Traditionally made from scratch, chai wallahs grind fresh spices adding them into a bubbling pot of whole milk, using a unique pouring method to pull, aerate, and cool the milk.
In the west however, Indian traditions have been somewhat butchered. You're likely to find chai in the form of the popular Chai Latte often made with sugar syrups and flavouring, with little to no tea in sight, and topped with steamed milk rather than brewed together.
Here at Websters we value real ingredients and the traditions of a good chai. We’ve harmoniously balanced black tea with a raft of fragrant and authentic Indian chai spices: cinnamon, ginger, liquorish, star anise, fennel, cardamom pods,and cloves along with peppercorns. The perfect mix for a real masala chai, the Indian way.
If you’re game try ‘pulling’ the tea (pouring from one vessel to another) which aerates and cools at the same time.
Authentic Chai at Home
1 cup of water
1 cup of milk. Whole dairy milk is traditional, oat and almond milk go well too.
4 tsps sugar
4 tsps of chai tea or Lockdown Chai (recipe below)
Heat the milk and water in a small pot on a medium heat
Lightly crush your chai tea or Lockdown Chai
Stir sugar into milk mixture until dissolved
Once a rolling boil is reached take off heat and add chai
Brew for 4 mins before straining out into mugs.
Lockdown Chai Recipe
No chai at home? No problem! As chai is literally spiced tea, you’ll likely have at least some of the below spices at home to come up with your very own mix.
It’s a Lockdown Chai, so what you have will do. Ideally you’ll have some black tea but if not, skip it, and go 100% spice mix for a caffeine free chai option. And whole spices are preferred but feel free to sub in ground spices if that’s what you’ve got.
The key is to have fun! Play around with different mixes, more of what you like, none of what you don’t.
Aim for 4 tsps for 2 serves.
Mix any and all:
Fresh citrus peel - pith completely removed
A little goes a long way of: