- Dish type
I always mix my own chai - it is budget friendly and very easy and also a nice food gift for friends.
2 people made this
IngredientsMakes: 4 gläser
- 30g Assam tea
- 1 tablespoon dried root ginger, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds with pods, crushed
- 1 stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon aniseed
MethodPrep:3min ›Extra time:5days › Ready in:5days3min
- Mix all ingredients and store in a tea tin. It keeps for a long time.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)
The Best Adaptogen Chai Tea (Blend + Recipe)
Chai is one of those seasonal treats that instantly transports you to a fall afternoon, wearing a cozy sweater and nestled up by a fire. It is one of my absolute favorite drinks to enjoy during the cold season (which lasts 6-7 months in Wisconsin!).
Mixing chai Tea from scratch is quite disparate from the powdered blends or teabags found in most grocery stores, especially the powder mixes that are comprised of sugar, milk powder, and flavoring. Or the Starbucks version, which is also very sweet and lacking in any amount of true spicy flavor that the recipe, traditionally, is known for.
I was first introduced to chai through both of these forms, including the grocery store powder mix, and the Starbucks’ version. It became very enjoyable to sip something warm during the fall and winter months and I loved the sweet flavor of the drink. As my diet, lifestyle, and palate have changed over the years to much healthier and real (whole) foods, I knew that my premix chai had to go! My best adaptogen chai tea recipe was born after searching for a new version of my favorite drink.
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History of Traditional Masala Chai
Tea plants have been growing wild in the Assam region of India for thousands of years. Earlier tea was used as herbal medicine by Indians, and the recreational consumption of tea became popular only in the 20th century through British influence.
At first, tea was consumed in a British manner with only a little milk and sugar added to it. Later Indians developed their own version by adding more milk and various spices to their tea.
In India, the street vendors who make chai are called Chai Wallahs, and each one of them has their own unique way of making the chai.
Chaiwallah preparing his chai on the street
Masala chai means “mixed-spiced tea” and today it’s not popular only in India, but all over the world.
Here is a great video about chai. It gives you an insight into the culture related to this delicious drink:
What is chai tea?
The term &ldquoChai tea&rdquo is a bit redundant as &ldquochai&rdquo actually means &ldquotea&rdquo in hindi. Chai tea probably has its origins in India, or at least it is mostly associated with that area of the world, and is a is a tea blend normally made with black tea leaves mixed with various spices.
What is marketed as chai tea in the Western world is more properly termed Masala chai, which means &ldquomixed spice tea.&rdquo
What spices are included in masala chai?
Chai tea has a very distinctive blend of strong flavors that people seem to either love or hate. At our house, I get to keep it all to myself as I happen to love it, while my husband even avoids the scent.
The strong flavors of masala chai are comprised of a variety of spices that can be customized to suit the tastes of the person making it, but some of the more commonly used spices include cinnamon, cardamon, and cloves. Ginger is also normally added, giving it an extra flavor kick.
Those who prefer a spicier chai can add peppercorns. Other people love to add fennel, anise, and/or star anise, and I think those add a nice subtle sweetness and balance out the flavors.
Why do I add Stevia?
For several years now, I&rsquove been following a low sugar diet, and most of the time, I drink all of my teas unsweetened. Something about the spiciness of chai tea, though, is enhanced when you add a tiny bit of sweetness to it.
Chai lattes are wonderfully complemented with honey, and if you want a sweeter chai latte, I&rsquod still suggest adding a touch of honey or maple syrup.
But what about those times that you just want a cup of tea and don&rsquot want to add sugar?
That&rsquos how I normally drink my chai, so I decided to add some stevia leaves to my chai blend. It adds a tiny bit of natural sweetness without adding sugar or extra carbs. That means I can drink it even in my fasting hours when doing intermittent fasting.
All of this said, if you plan on sweetening your tea with honey, or don&rsquot like the taste of stevia, don&rsquot add it! It&rsquos completely optional. (Awaiting a comment about how my recipe would be good, but that the person won&rsquot make it again because they hate stevia&hellip) 😉
Please, as always, use the recipes as guidelines, and adjust them to suit your personal taste!
Adjusting the spices to suit your taste
I added a lot more spices to my chai tea recipe than the recipes I had tried online. Perhaps that&rsquos because I&rsquom used to the strong flavors in the store bought chai teas that have been enhanced with artificial and &ldquonatural&rdquo flavorings.
If you are making a big batch of chai tea concentrate, you are using fresh ginger or infusing the spices for long periods of time before adding in the black tea, so you can get away with using much smaller amounts of spices.
If, on the other hand, you are like me and want to mix the tea with the spices to make pre-made teabags that can be brewed in a few minutes with no need to pre-brew the spices, you&rsquoll need to add a higher concentration of spices to your mixture.
That&rsquos what I wanted, and that&rsquos why you&rsquoll find that my recipes uses a higher concentration of spices to tea than most. I want a strongly spiced tea that can be brewed in minutes. If you want your tea more or less spicy, adjust the tea to spice ratio accordingly.
In the same way, you can adjust the amount of each individual spice used or leave out any spices that you don&rsquot like altogether.
For the love for chai - how India's one billion+ people are devoted to their cup of tea in its many forms!
Angrez chale gae, par chai chhod gaye…A hindi saying which translates to – The British have gone but have left behind chai or tea.
Chai is more than a drink for Indians. It resonates a feeling. This hot drink is simmered or boiled with equal parts of milk, water and loose-tea leaves, sugar and aromatic spices. Poured in tea cups or little chai glasses and accompanied by snacks or farsan (popular Western India savoury snacks), or simply the good old Parle-G biscuits.
All important things are discussed over chai in India. Be it politics, neighbourhood gossip, heartbreaks or new beginnings. Referring to a popular hindi film song, "Isiliye mummy ne meri, tumhe chai pe bulaya hai..." translates to - a young girl singing that her mother is inviting someone over chai to talk about a marriage proposal - you will know how important tea time is. A unique yet ubiquitous culture, close to every Indian heart.
A quick look at the origin of Tea:
Chai is a word derived from the Chinese word Cha, which means tea. Tea was imported from China to Western countries as per History of tea in India by Brajinder Singh and R.K Sud. China and brought it with them to India by leading commercial tea plantations, in the 1830s, of Darjeeling and Assam.
Adapting to Indian taste buds, this hot drink became popular in cities, villages amongst the elderly and young, alike. You can spot a chai walla (a Hindi term for someone who sells tea) with a chaidaan (aluminium tea kettle) at every nook and corner of a street, at least pre-Covid-19.
Tea in North India
‘Ek ka do’ and ‘makhan-maar ke’ in Hindi translates to one by two and filled with cream, respectively. That’s how people in Delhi like their tea. It is easy to spot tea-vendors or chaiwaalas outside big multinational companies and why not, it provides a steady income for their tea businesses. Many office-goers prefer stepping out to tapris or chaiwaalas for their 4pm tea break.
Chai in North and Central India is populary accompanied with samosas (potato filled savoury pastry), kachori (deep-fried savouries), bread pakora (spiced batter and deep-fried bread) or just a simple rusk.
Chai at Indian Railways stations
If you have had the opportunity to travel by the Indian railways, then station waali (belonging to) chai cannot be missed. "Kharab se kharab chai pijiye," in Hindi, translates to drink the worst kind of tea, is a popular marketing gimmick used by tea vendors to catch attention. You can find them between Tatanagar and Rourkela stations (cities in Jamshedpur and Odisha) of Eastern India. Earlier tea or chai at Indian stations were served in Kulhad or clay cups, known to be sustainable and cost effective at the same time.
Tea culture of Eastern India
Lebu cha or lemon chai is a popular tea-based drink in Kolkata and Eastern parts of India. It is a spiced and salted lemon tea, that is brewed with delicate tea leaves, which is populary accompanied by momos (a type of savoury dumplings). It is at tapris (tea stalls) or what is popularly know as Addas (slang for meeting point) you will find the elderly discuss politcial theories and everything remotely concerning the world at large.
Tea culture in West India
It’s impossible to truly enjoy monsoon in Mumbai without a cup of hot chai. Of course, the city is most famous for introducing the cutting chai – a half glass of hot tea, laced with warm spices to make it strong – but other than this, the tea culture in Maharashtra allows you to enjoy a sip of tea no matter where you are, especially since tea stalls or amruttulyas are in abundance.
Cutting chai is often paired with street food snacks such as biscuits or vada pav.
Popular tea types in western India include masala chai, nagori chai, tandoori chai and kulhad chai.
Tea culture in South India
When you visit the Southern parts of India for a simmering cup of tea, the tea culture is a little more different, and chai is called chaya. Especially since it is accompanied with snacks and delicacies native to the region. While masala chai isn’t as popular in the South, tea is often brewed just with milk and sugar. Karnataka also has several tea-exclusive food outlets, where they accommodate the various kinds of tea from all over India.
Of course, each Southern state has its own speciality. For example, the Nilgri tea (or blue mountain tea) is dark and aromatic with a strong flavour, whereas the Sulaimani tea in Kerala has a hue of amber, and is made with the absence of milk and a dash of lemon. Legend has it that the Sulaimani arrived in Kerala, courtesy the Arab traders who would arrive with wares from the Middle East.
In Kerala, tea time is usually accompanied with banana fritters (pazhampori), lentil fritters (parippu vada), murukku (chakli), or any other savoury that balances the spice with a hot cup of sweet tea.
In the South, there are 3 tea estates in Karnataka, 4 in Tamil Nadu and 5 in Kerala, alone.
DIY Chai Spice Blend
Don’t let making your own spice blends scare you!
Homemade spice mix recipes are so simple to make. I love that they are customizable too, so you can always add more of your favorite flavor.
This DIY chai spice blend is easy and you can find all of the individual spices where you buy your groceries.
What Spices are in Chai?
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- all spice
Once you have all of these spices stocked in your pantry, you can make this chai blend (and homemade pumpkin spice mix !) to always have on hand.
Remove peels from clementines, trying to leave as much white pith behind as possible set clementines aside for another use (or snacking!). Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add clementine peels, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and ginger and cook 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit 5 minutes.
Set mixture over high heat and return to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in tea. Let sit 2 minutes.
Strain chai through a fine-mesh sieve into 2 glasses, dividing evenly. Squeeze in lemon juice and add honey to taste.
How would you rate Orange Peel Chai?
I totally missed “cook for three minutes” in Step 1 the first time around. Perhaps it should be a separate sentence or the paragraph should end there. I was so confused I re-boiled, cooked, and let sit again. Anyway, I obviously didn’t do a good job following the steps exactly, but it seemed like the lemon just overpowered the whole thing. Don’t be like me!
Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.
Chai isn't just for drinking
For many, a morning and afternoon cup of chai is as essential as human contact. This is fitting considering that chai has been bringing people together for centuries. Even if the company is only your own.
Chai is Hindi for tea and 'secret' spice blends have been passed down from generation to generation. If you're not lucky enough to have a recipe then you can start here:
Spice up your morning or afternoon cuppa with this recipe for Indian spiced tea. This aromatic chai blend will keep for up to six months in an airtight container. Just ¼ teaspoon will flavour two cups of tea.
This dairy-free blend is also very good:
This is one of those things I’ve been dying to make for years, but never got around to it because it seemed hard. On the contrary, it only took about an hour out of my weekend and made the house smell amazing - and now I’ve made enough to last me a few weeks! So if you’re interested in drinking hot, sweet, spicy, complex chai, try this out and save yourself years of just thinking about it.
Whatever recipe you choose as your starting point, experimenting to create your own signature spice blend is all part of the delights behind chai. Most blends will keep for about six months in a tightly lidded jar, somewhere cool and dark.
No need to worry about the time frame, though. Once you realise that chai tastes good in everything, you'll be racing through your blend in weeks, not months.
You'll need a mug or two of chai to sip on as you quietly work your way through this recipe.
Source: Alan Benson
Adding a chai custard and a chai syrup to a standard Portuguese custard tart is a work of genius. The softness of the meltingly-good pastry offsets the hit of chai spices beautifully. Note to self: add dried ginger pieces to the signature spice blend immediately.
This chai infusion is combining teatime with scone time and we are here for it.
Source: Armelle Habib
Chai-infused scones are surely the most perfect thing to serve for afternoon tea, ever. Especially when the prime minister is coming.
This not-so-naughty spiced loaf is given a nutrient and moisture boost with sweet potato and coconut.
Source: Lottie Hedley, The Great Australian Baking Book
Accompanying your scones might be this nutritious gluten-free chai loaf. It's brimming with enough goodness to make a slice for breakfast another option.
Teacakes are easy to make and even easier to devour. This has spicy notes of chai and a sweet cinnamon dusting.
Simple to prepare, rather rustic and absolutely delicious.
Of course, the king of chai bakes has to be this carrot cake. Not least because it's smothered in a pistachio cream cheese frosting.
Have a ball
These delightful little snacks are like spiced cookie dough flecked with coconut and warmed by rum.
Source: Camellia Aebischer
Rum balls might be for the festive season, but masala chai rum balls are forever.
This snack is sweet but slightly savoury too, just like a good chai should be.
Source: Belinda So
Popcorn is such an underrated sweet snack - it soaks up chai flavours like a sponge, then crunches up nicely in the oven.
All the creaminess of tiramisu with an underlying taste of cardamom, ginger and tea plus added zing from the ginger.
Source: Anjum’s Australian Spice Stories
It's hard to improve on a classic tiramisu, but this ginger chai version is really unbeatable. As you'd expect, well-spiced chai replaces the traditional espresso to soak into the biscuits. Plenty of ginger really makes it sing.
DIY Chai Spice Blend
Every Fall, I usually put together a little DIY spice blend to use for the season. I&rsquove done pumpkin pie spice and apple pie spice. They last forever and are so much easier to make at home than to buy &mdash not to mention far cheaper. Additionally, you likely already have all the spices in your pantry!
For years, I thought chai was a proprietary blend for teas and that you can only get the chai flavor if you buy chai tea and steep it to use in recipes. That&rsquos why I was sad I couldn&rsquot make my own dirty chai lattes at home. Well, I&rsquove clearly wised up and figured out that the chai spice blend is actually able to be concocted from spices that are already in my pantry!
You will find so many ways to use this DIY chai spice blend. In fact, I&rsquove already used it in two recipes that I&rsquoll be sharing on the blog soon! One of which is a decadently rich brownie that you won&rsquot want to miss!
More seasoning blends
Making DIY seasoning mixes at home is so easy! They taste incredible—much better than storebought—and are fun gifts, too. Try all our seasoning blends (listed by style):
- Mexican:Fajita Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, Fish Taco Seasoning
- Mediterranean:Greek Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, Herbes de Provence
- Cajun:Cajun Seasoning, Blackened Seasoning
- American:Old Bay Seasoning, Chili Seasoning, Everything Bagel Seasoning, Ranch Seasoning
- All Purpose:Seasoned Salt
Published on August 14, 2020 / Last updated on October 4, 2020