National Chai Day is celebrated annually on September 21st and is a day of appreciation for a globally loved drink! Chai, also referred to as Masala chai, is a sweet tea beverage with a slight hint of spiciness, traditionally consisting of aromatic spices like cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pepper that originated in India. However, chai can also refer to East African chai, as well as a type of chai that is popular in the UAE and Saudi Arabia known as chai karak (شاي كرك.). There are also many variations of chai seen within the Western World, the most popular being chai lattes & 'dirty chai.' To celebrate this fantastic day, we thought we'd share some of our favourite chai recipes with you...
Iced Dirty Chai Latte
Our favourite of the Westernised versions of chai, a dirty chai is when coffee is added to your chai tea. This drink is rich and satisfying, perfect for your morning pick-me-up. Obviously this drink is best with homemade chai, however chai teabags or chai spice concentrate will work just as well!
- 1 chai tea bag
- 1 shot of espresso or ¼ cup strong brewed coffee
- 180ml cold milk of your choice (use plant milk to make this drink vegan)
- Squeeze of honey (use agave if vegan)
- Steep your tea in a small amount of hot water
- Brew your coffee or make a shot of espresso
- Once the tea is steeped, mix in honey to taste and pour over a cup of ice
- Add in the coffee and cold milk. Enjoy!
Did you know that tea is one of Kenya’s main exports? In fact, Kenya exports more tea than Sri Lanka, India, and China! Therefore, it's no surprise that tea is a huge part of Kenyan culture. Chai is Swahili for tea, and tea drinking is a tradition that is left over from British colonialism in Kenya. Much like British tea, in Kenya, chai is simply tea that is made with milk and sugar.
- 1 cup of milk (you can use plant milk to make this recipe vegan, we prefer oat)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of good quality black tea leaves
- 1 cup of water
- 2 to 4 teaspoons of sugar
- In a saucepan, heat together the water and tea and boil for 10 minutes
- Add the milk and heat to near boiling
- Add sugar to taste and leave to sit until serving (be sure to strain the leaves!)
This delicious Saudi Arabian version of chai is super rich and creamy thanks to evaporated milk and is usually made with fewer spices than masala chai. The recipe will often vary from family to family, but this is the way we like to make ours, inspired by this delicious recipe by Zaynab Issa.
- 6 cups of water
- 4 black tea bags
- 13 cardamom pods, cracked
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 Tbsp. sugar (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup evaporated milk (you can use evaporated coconut milk to make this vegan!)
- 10 Saffron strands (optional)
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.
- Add tea bags, cardamom, cinnamon, sugar, saffron and vanilla extract and return to a boil.
- Stir in evaporated milk and return to a boil again. Make sure it doesn't boil over!
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick and creamy (about 30 minutes).
- Strain your Karak chai through a fine-mesh sieve into mugs and enjoy!