Sunday, March 9, 2014

March Secret Recipe Club....Featuring Spiced Chai Concentrate

Time for another fun Secret Recipe Club reveal! This month, my assigned blog is the lovely Chef in Disguise. Sawsan lives in Jordan, and her blog features amazing recipes and gorgeous photos! I loved learning more about her country's rich culture -- food and otherwise -- as I read through posts looking for a recipe to share. That's one of the best things about blogging -- learning about how people eat and live in other parts of the country...and the world. I found many great recipes that I can't wait to try out in my kitchen here in Texas. However, I couldn't wait another day to get in the kitchen to make her Spice Tea Chai Concentrate. The only change I made to her recipe was to omit star anise, because I'm not crazy about the licorice flavor. We absolutely love chai, so having a jar of this delicious homemade concentrate in the fridge allows us to indulge whenever the mood strikes.

We first tried chai while on vacation in New York a few years back. Doughnut Plant is famous for its amazing artisan doughnuts, but they also make a rich and spicy chai latte that we went nuts for! We tried to recreate it at home, but it was never quite the same. This concentrate is the real deal! Aromatic spices, orange peel, and brown sugar are steeped with black tea bags and allowed to reduce. What's left is a versatile concentrate. Add milk and additional sweetener to make a chai latte...or maybe add a bit of water to make a cup of morning tea. It stores easily in the fridge in a jar or plastic container. If you have a bulk spice section in a store near you, you can pick up just what you need of the whole spices...I made this container of concentrate for about $6, including a box a tea bags! 

Spiced Chai Concentrate
from Chef in Disguise

  • 5 cups water
  • 10 tea bags (black tea -- I used English Breakfast Tea)
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, cut into 4 slices
  • Peel of 1 orange
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 8 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
Step 1: Add the water, brown sugar, orange peel, and spices through nutmeg to a large saucepan. Stir well to dissolve the brown sugar. Heat the mixture over med-high heat. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
Step 2: Add the tea bags to the boiling liquid and reduce heat to med-low. You want the mixture to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool. When cool, add the honey and vanilla and stir to combine completely. Pour the mixture into a Mason jar or a plastic container. Store in the fridge.
Step 3: To use, add some of the chai concentrate to a mug. The amount is up to your personal taste. I added about 1/3 cup of the concentrate and 2/3 cup milk to make a cup of milky chai tea. I also added a bit more brown sugar to my cup, as I prefer my chai a bit sweeter. The good thing about this concentrate is that you can customize it to each person's preference.
I love the flavor of this chai...the spices are perfectly balanced, and it's so easy to whip up. I estimate each jar will make at least 10 mugs of chai. Not only does it taste great, it's very economical too! I hope you'll make a batch of this chai concentrate to keep on hand. I'm planning to make a chai milkshake next week with lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt, some of the concentrate, and a bit of extra cinnamon and nutmeg. In the meantime, I hope you'll check out all of the great recipes Secret Recipe Club Group A is sharing're sure to find something amazing to cook up in your kitchen!

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