I found a recipe for homemade Chai1 after throwing a bit of a fit that my Starbucks gold card is running out of its value points. I really can’t abuse my gold card this way just to get my dose of tea lattes, most notably Chai, Maccha Green, and Vanilla Rooibos Lattes, and then have to spend more money to add in the card. I had to do something to “cut down” from the Starbucks tea lattes.
I was at a local Smart & Final supermarket earlier to buy more of the addictive Muesli cereal when I headed to the spices section to buy some bay leaves (for the Chicken Adobo that Mom was going to make) when I discovered a few different types of ground cinnamon. I remember that we do have a box of ground cinnamon bought from Safeway like… 10 years ago… and because I don’t want to risk using that 10+-year-old cinnamon, I decided to buy a brand-new container of ground cinnamon. When I scanned through the selections, there was standard ground cinnamon and ground Saigon Cinnamon. While being curious with the difference between the two, a Vietnamese mother came by and grabbed a 5oz bottle of the Saigon Cinnamon, and then I asked her the difference between the two.
“Are you thinking of making dessert, like cinnamon rolls?” The Vietnamese lady asked. I simply told her that I plan to add cinnamon in to my cereal and my (appropriate) tea drinks. She said that Saigon Cinnamon may be more expensive than standard cinnamon (the Saigon Cinnamon 50z bottle was close to $6 compared to the rest that were only about $2.50-$3 only), but she said that it’s very worth it. She also stated that the Saigon Cinnamon has a deeper, richer, stronger flavor than that of a standard cinnamon and even recommended using the Saigon Cinnamon on desert and drinks, even on a homemade Chai latte drink. She also stated that Saigon Cinnamon is simply required to make the tastiest pho2 that you could ever have. I don’t think I’ll ever try making pho since I don’t have all the right ingredients at home at the moment (plus I’m running out of cash flow, you get the picture), but I will certainly try the Saigon Cinnamon on everything else: baking cinnamon buns (if I ever get to them), an addition to my usual fruit pieces on my Muesli cereal, adding them on various teas or coffee (not that I drink coffee regularly).
I found this awesome recipe for homemade Chai from allrecipes.com. I don’t have a picture of it yet since I haven’t made it. I’ll definitely try this recipe out sometime later this week, but for now I will make some changes with the recipe itself:
- Replacing ground cinnamon for the ground Saigon Cinnamon that I bought at Smart & Final earlier today.
- Trial & Error time! I’ll have to experiment with the amount of the spices needed for the mix. I do know that spices such as cardamom and cloves can be overpowering, so it is important to have the flavors of the spices balanced altogether. I hate ginger by itself overall, but it’s a required ingredient. You can’t say you made chai without the ginger.
- I’d cut the sugar to at least 1 1/3 cups because 2 1/2 cups of sugar looks pretty too sweet for me, especially for the diabetics there. For my mom’s diabetes I’m replacing the sugar with Stevia or Agave instead. Honey would definitely work also.
- Instead of instant tea, I’m using Darjeeling black tea bags. Maybe I’ll try the Chai tea bags also (ie. Bigelow Vanilla Chai or Stash Chai Spice), but for now, Darjeeling black tea bags.
- Regular vanilla extract instead of French Vanilla creamer. My dad will kill me if I ever touch any of his coffee creamers.3
- I hate using the blender to blend dry ingredients, so I’m going to use my dad’s coffee grinder instead like one of the commenters suggested. Blenders do tend to get messy if you’re not attentive with what you’re doing.
- I just realized that this recipe was to make “instant homemade chai mix” that I was even thinking of omitting the powdered milk and replace it with fresh milk, soybean milk, almond, milk or rice milk. I’ll find another recipe that makes the tea itself rather than the mix.
And that’s about the changes that I plan to make for the moment. Let’s see what happens when I get in to action. :)
On the sidenote...
- or more commonly known as “chai tea,” which is kinda redundant because “chai” is the Indian (?) word for ‘tea.” In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog (spelling is “tsa” but it has the same pronunciation) and pretty much majority of the Asian language, the word for “tea” is “cha” [↩]
- Vietnamese noodle soup. They’re quite cheap in Vietnamese restaurants but they take quite awhile to make at home. [↩]
- I’m kidding about the killing part but my dad gets pretty stingy with the creamer. My mom always drinks her coffee black. My siblings are creamer hogs too. Luckily I don’t drink coffee and stick with my milk tea. [↩]