I paid $3 for my first mug of Chai Latte' in one of those fancy internet cafe's. It was love at first sip, but I didn't have $3 for every time i craved another mug. I tried a number of powdered and liquid mixes, but couldn't find anything cheap enough for me. Then I found (and modified) a recipe for making it at home, and many who have tasted it say it's better than Starbucks. I drink as much as I want now without guilt!
Here's the simple recipe:
In a sauce pan, combine 2 C. water, 2 regular tea bags, 1/8-1/4 t. EACH of ground ginger and cardamon, 1 whole clove, and one cinnamon stick. Boil for 5 minutes. Then add 1/4 c. sugar (or 6 Splenda pkts.), and 2 1/2 C. milk. Bring to a boil, strain (if desired) and serve.
1. If you purchase your spices at the grocery store, you'll pay a bundle. You can get most of them at Gordon Food Service or similar places. Cardamon will be harder to find in a quantity. I have had lots of luck, though, at health food stores. You can purchase it by weight in small quantities and pay a fraction of the grocery store price. (A jar of cardamon at the store was $11 - the same quantity at the health food store was less than $2.)
2. Did you know that cinnamon sticks don't get "used up" very quickly? I used to throw the cinnamon stick away after each batch of chai - what a waste! Now I rinse it when I'm done and give it a sniff - if it smells cinnamon-y, it still has flavor to impart. In this recipe, you can reuse your cinnamon sticks 3-4 times - maybe more!
3. Variations: If you want a more dessert-like beverage, top off your chai with a dallop of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg - YUM! Also, it can be made more or less rich by varying what kind of milk you use (skim or whole) or even replacing some of the milk with cream.
Making homemade chai might not make you rich, but it will make the lean times taste a lot better!