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I've spent so much money buying cartons of liquid chai concentrate and have tried many times to make it myself. Well, today I researched ruthlessly and this (which I made up on my own) is the concentrate I've been waiting for! Keep in mind everybody has a different masala chai preference and you should adjust it to your liking - I like a little spice, not too sweet, and an overall balance of flavors. Enjoy!
- 7 cups water
- 2 tablespoons cut dried ginger (chunks, available at health food stores in the bulk spice department) or 1 inch fresh ginger
- 10 -15 whole cloves
- 1⁄4 star anise pods
- 3 inches cinnamon sticks
- 1⁄2 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1⁄2 tablespoon cardamom seed
- 2 tablespoons black tea leaves
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- special note about spices (If you have a bulk foods or Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage kind of grocer nearby, get the spices from the bulk section. They often cost 25% what you'd pay for a jar! My total ingredients expense was around $1.50, not including the milk!).
- In a medium-large saucepan, bring about 7 cups water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, add the 6 spices (do not add the tea yet).
- Once the water/spice mixture is boiling, add the tea.
- Boil 5 minutes, then remove from heat. (I know you're never supposed to boil tea, but I found this works just fine. If you don't want to boil the tea, just boil the spices for 5 minutes and steep slightly longer.).
- Stir in the brown sugar (or honey) and vanilla.
- Steep for 8 minutes, then strain into a glass container.
- While you wait for it to cool, pour a mug 2/3 full with your chai and add hot milk to the top. (If it isn't spicy or sweet enough, you can still add more spices to steep - just strain the mixture again before storing.) OR for a real treat, use hot evaporated milk (I wouldn't want this every day, because its a little sweeter and creamier than regular milk.).
- Store in the refrigerator for 7 days (maybe longer, but all chai concentrate containers claim 7 days is best). Note: Normally you'd use 1:1 ratio of chai:milk, but I brew it a little weaker and save $ on milk since I drink so much chai.