spice up your life!

posted in: cooking, preserving, recipes | 11

I may be alone on this, but I get those mind-consuming ideas that strikes so randomly that you don’t know what to do. Besides go for it. The fortunate thing about this in the kitchen is that going for it isn’t too difficult.

The latest small obsession is chai. Admittedly, I’ve never had a ‘proper’ Indian chai, but a combination of factors came together to light a fire in me. My friend P and I were discussing her summer in the suburbs of Boston. With her luck, she only found one solid restaurant which happened to be Indian, but the owner treated her well with flavorful Chai and comforting Korma. Then, I stumbled across this edible gift idea for “The Best Chai Mix!” Even P thought that mixture of spices looked both tasty and authentic.

Because there is never enough toasty spices to go around, I not only made the spice mix in bulk, four times the original recipe, along with a great chai simple syrup. This could go into warm or cold cocktails, possibly substitute for the spices and sweetener in a cheat chai [boil tea, add milk and simple syrup, call it a day?] or even be drizzled on a massive, delicious whole wheat pumpkin pancake. Warmed, it combines with butter to melt together and make a warm, spicy, sweet topping for a barely sweetened pancake. Delicious enough to make even the most sane girl use a Spice Girls reference in her blog.

Chai Spice Mix

This makes 1 jar, about two cups chai mix.

48 green cardamom pods
4 teaspoon red, black & white peppercorns [bought premixed] 4 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoon whole cloves
4 4-inch cinnamon sticks
¾ cup chopped candied ginger
2 cups loose black tea

Preheat oven to 350°. Split the cardamom pods in half. In a small cookie sheet, place the split cardamom along with all spices. Toast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until the spices and fragrant and darker in color. Remove and cool.

Place the spices in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. The main concern is that the spices get to a reasonable size for putting into tea bags. Put the spices into a mason jar and top with chopped candied ginger. Close lid, and shake thoroughly, until evenly distributed.

I keep the tea separate from the mix, so you can adjust the level of spice to tea. According to the original recipe, it’s one-to-one, one tablespoon of tea to one tablespoon of chai mix, but I’ve also made it two-to-one tea to chai mix as well.

Chai Simple Syrup

12 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon red, black & white peppercorns [bought premixed] 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon whole cloves
1 4-inch cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350°. Split the cardamom pods in half. In a small cookie sheet, place the split cardamom along with all spices. Toast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until the spices and fragrant and darker in color. Remove and cool.

Place the spices, ginger, sugar and water into a small pot on medium. Let the sugar mixture come to a boil and simmer gently, for 5-10 minutes. Be warned, the longer the mixture simmers, the more intense the flavors are. The sugar may crystallize when cooled if simmered too long, unfortunately.

Strain the syrup through a fine meshed sieve and pour into a jar. Store in the refrigerator. Will pretty much last forever, or until you lick the jar clean.

11 Responses

  1. I love that simple syrup! And lately my late afternoon caffeine fix is a nice hot chai. Lovely.

  2. I’m a huge chai fan, both authentic and the more Americanized versions that use tea and syrup like yours. One is spicy and reminds me of my grandma, and the other makes me feel warm and happy like eating pumpkin pie. Thanks for your recipe! Here is my favorite chai recipe- http://www.leenaeats.com/blog/leena-cooks/leena-cooks-motiben-s-chai/

  3. monique

    Hi, just wanted to add something to this list of Chai-possibilities: ) I made a dolce con leche marmelade and seasoned it with Chai spices. It was terrific. Next time I try to season it with a coffeetaste. Imagine, espresso in a jar!

  4. I’m so excited to have stumbled on this chai recipe: I use the whole toasted spices but many recipes call for ground. At the coffeehouse I used to work at we made espresso chai, so I can use this syrup in my coffee and feel like I’m back in Iowa 🙂

  5. aaah espresso chai is my favorite! i love lattes and i love chais, so the combo of espresso, milk and chai is heavenly.
    glad you found the recipe and i hope you like it! 🙂

  6. Why thank you! I’ve been using the syrup the last 2 days–so good! I’m thinking of making some espresso chai mix with the spices and instant espresso. Won’t be quite as good as the coffeehouse stuff since the espresso is instant but will be great at my desk! The spices are phenomenal, btw, our whole house smells good when I use them!

  7. […] for your Halloween parties. While I am already thinking of warm, spiked pumpkin lattes made with a spiced syrup, something tells me this vodka could be lots of fun for crazy Halloween […]

  8. […] Chai Syrup: As you may have guessed, autumn is a time when I make many, many syrups and other goodies that I can add to my beverages to spice them up or that I can use to soothe a sore throat (less of an issue here than in Iowa, it seems.) This one is *incredible.* So flavorful, and her suggestion to toast the spices is one I’ve been singing the praises of for quite some time. A couple things I’ll add: for this (and the cola syrup above) you can make it stronger tasting by bringing it to a boil, turning the eye off, covering it, and letting it sit for quite a while (hours) before adding the sugar and boiling. Both are incredible without doing that, so that’s just if you want to be punched in the face with extra flavor. Also, if you have trouble fitting the dried spices into a tea ball for making tea without the syrup, you can blitz them in a coffee grinder for a couple seconds (make sure to use one that’s separate from your coffee, or it will all taste like coffee.) […]

  9. […] make some spice cookies. I always have all the whole spices for making my own chai (I base it on this recipe), so I decided I would make a chai glaze and add some spices to the cookies themselves. They are […]

  10. […] Spiced Tangerines I always have this spice mixture around, too. If you go to the link, you’ll find the proprotions of the spices to use (make […]

  11. btw you put this under the forge mods and I had to re install all the mods I had -_- and just wanted to tell you

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