Holiday weekend chai

We’ve had a sensationally quiet weekend. Lots of cooking and chatting and sleeping. It’s been pretty nice really. 

I made chai this morning. If you are like me, you have a daily caffeine ration. I have a coffee first thing, and then one around 9.30am and then a cup of milky tea sometime around noon. Any more than that and I am zinging around at midnight getting mad and regretful because that extra cuppa means I don’t get to sleep so well. 

So I have been searching for a low-caffeine (no-caffeine preferably) beverage to satisfy that craving for afternoon comfort. Warm, frothy chai seems just the ticket. 

Chai is traditionally made with good black, stimulating indian tea so I am going to work on a roobios version of this (personally, I can’t stand rooibos on it’s own) for a sleepy night.


Basically, I googled chai recipes and took the bits I liked best from a bunch of them and then also consulted what we readily had on hand. 

It goes a little something like this:

4 cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cloves
Tiny little knob of fresh ginger, peeled
Freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups of water
2 cups of milk
Sugar to taste (we added a couple of tablespoons as per one recipe and it was crazy-too-much)
2 black tea bags
Grated nutmeg to top it off 

Dry roast the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon, moving them around in a frying pan over a moderate heat until they look toasty and smell fab (thanks Kate for this suggestion!). Smash them up in a mortar and pestle.  At this point anybody wandering into your house will be impressed by the fantastic smell.

Transfer smashed spices into a saucepan with the ginger, water and small grinding of black pepper. Let it come to the boil and bubble away for about 5 minutes. Then add the milk and sugar and stir. Let it come back to the boil and bubble away for five more minutes. Stir it occasionally and enjoy the nice smells. Remove from heat and add your two tea bags and let it brew for a few minutes. Sieve into mugs and grate a sprinkling of nutmeg over the top.

Obviously this is a very made-up kind of recipe. It’s totally open to how much of what you put in according to your own tastes – a piece of vanilla bean (or vanilla sugar), star anise, fennel seeds, honey instead of sugar would all be pretty yum. I am going to keep working on this and come up with the recipe that makes those caffeine-free afternoons completely happy. 

And apart from chai another highlight of the weekend was a surprise visitor. Look who turned up in the ‘hood? Someone dumped poor old Mazza on the nature strip in our street so we have moved her to her new home of “under the house” ready for the next hard rubbish when I am sure someone towing a trailer will take her off to a better place. She has nice legs, and very fancy footwear, I think.


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14 Responses

  1. Angela says:

    you should checkout the excellent chai recipe on SBS food webpage from Barry Vera’s recent Indian food show Feast India!! Looks amazing

  2. Andi says:

    Definitely honey instead of sugar.And try using soy milk too instead of regular. I’m not a soy milk drinker AT ALL but this is my one exception. Gives the Chai a nuttier flavour and a creamier consistency. YUM!!!Perfect for these chilly evenings we’ve started having. Alongside the hot afternoons and the freezing mornings.Melbourne’s weather has always been a bit fickle but this is rediculous. Chai Baby!

  3. Hannahbelle says:

    I can’t stand plain Rooibos tea either, but Red Green Vanilla from T2 is a really nice blend. Very delicate and refreshing on a hot day (although they are coming less and less now – woot!).

  4. I use Madura tea, which is Australian, and you can get it in the supermarket – it has about 95% less caffeine than regular tea, so you can channel old lady to your hearts content, and drink potfuls of the stuff….It would probably be great for Chai as well – the English Breakfast is yum, and the regular premium blend is a stronger, blacker one if you prefer…..

    Love the Mads – I think she has lovely legs!

    Leah xxx

  5. sooz says:

    I get formosan tea – in the health food aisle of the supermarket – and it is organic and caffeine free for old codgers like me and still tastes like real tea. Excellent for Chai as well as the regular heated bevvy thing.And in India, I haven’t ever seen anyone use honey. Most chai wallahs have their own special recipe and people have definite loyalties and it is always super super sweet (since they use the same tea leaves all day – just chucking them back in the pot after straining out a glass and putting it back on the heat – add more sugar, add more milk and water).

  6. Hi Claire, I joined this group to meet mums who “share on babies, bedroom & beyond!” Join us 4 latest info on bubs, kids, tweens & mums 2! It’s fun & free! Claire xo

  7. naomi says:

    ohh, thanks for this! Cant wait to try…totally over all my teas at the moment:)

  8. Dizzydi says:

    Mmmm… I love chai. In fact, I’m going to go out and make myself a cup right now!/Dizzydi

  9. paperinstyle says:

    I love the smell of cloves!!! Thank you for the recipe. I will definitely try very soon. I love chai…

  10. Louisa says:

    Would I be a philistine if I owned up to making Chai using the ready made teabags?The Twinings with vanilla is yum (with soy milk).

  11. Kirsty says:

    Your chai looks & sounds wonderful.& yes the legs are super.

  12. Lucy says:

    I so have to ration the caffeine, 2 cups a day, 1 first thing and another no later than 2pm or no sleep til dawn! I went a little crazy the other day and had 3, the last at 6pm, and I was palpitating by 9pm and feeling very shaky! Thanks for the Chai recipe!

  13. Chai is my favourite tea! A decaf blend is a great idea since I drink tea all day! I agree with the soy milk & honey… they are fabulous in chai!Hugs, Laurraine

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