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Chai Tea Syrup

I love chai tea and it's a good alternative to coffee in the evenings.  Traditionally the tea is made by boiling milk and spices together with sugar or jaggery.  A bit messy and time consuming.  You can certainly buy chai tea syrups and powder but these are expensive.  Nerada and other tea brands have chai tea bags but I find these a bit insipid.  I prefer the syrup for convenience and taste.

If you don't have some of the spices or they are not to your taste, then you can vary the recipe.  Add more of something that you like as this is not a strongly spiced chai syrup.  Think of it as a base for your own tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre water
  • 5 cm piece fresh ginger root, sliced or chopped
  • 5 cm cinnamon quill, broken into small pieces
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 6 green cardamom pods (or one teaspoon cardamom seeds)
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup black tea leaves
  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Method:

  1. Combine the water and all the spices in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer with the saucepan covered.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add the tea leaves to the spice mixture and remove the saucepan from heat.
  5. Let cool for 10 minutes to allow the tea to steep - no more or the syrup will become bitter.
  6. Strain the mixture into a jug through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and discard spices and tea leaves. You should have about 2 cups of liquid.
  7. Rinse the saucepan and return the liquid to it.
  8. Add the sugar and honey, stirring to dissolve.
  9. Heat to boiling and then reduce heat to a simmer. 
  10. Continue simmering without a cover until the liquid reduces to a syrup (about 1 cup).
  11. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then pour the syrup into a sterilised bottle.
  12. Store the syrup in the fridge - it will last a couple of months.

Tips:

To serve, heat a cup of milk or 1/2 milk and water in the microwave.  Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of the syrup and enjoy.