Here’s a little treat I’ve been sitting on for a while: instant chai latte mix.
This makes an incredibly fragrant cup of tea, particularly if you grind the spices yourself. Put in cute glass jars, it makes a terrific gift–the first batch I ever made was a treat for my tea-loving neighbors after they brought their new baby home.
This concentrate is based on a recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk. I make it with evaporated milk, because I like to sweeten my tea myself. Because sugar is a preservative, the unsweetened concentrate has a much shorter shelf life; I try to use up my chai mix within a month. If you don’t mind a pre-sweetened cup of tea, use sweetened condensed milk–it’ll keep for up to six months.
To make a traditional cup of chai, brew a cup of strong black tea, like Assam, and stir in 2 tsp of this concentrate, plus whatever sweetener you like. But that’s far from the limit–I could see this working beautifully with green tea, chamomile or mint tea, hot chocolate or coffee. It can be used with iced tea as well as hot. And for a real treat, stir a tablespoonful or two into a bowl of oatmeal and top with a drizzle of honey.
Chai Latte Concentrate (makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 25-30 cups of tea)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground fennel seed
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Pour evaporated milk into a clean glass pint jar with a tight-fitting lid. In a small bowl, whisk or sift all the spices together, breaking up any lumps. Add the combined spices and vanilla extract to the milk and stir thoroughly to combine. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.