The Art of Reduction

chai addict & harder bottles against the wall next to a bottle of reduced chai concentrate

You may have heard the term ‘reduction’ in every cooking show you’ve ever watched or read, from Network Ten’s MasterChef to renowned Australian cook, Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion book. Simply put, it’s the process of simmering liquids to concentrate flavour, colour and aroma. Sounds easy enough but it’s actually a little more complicated than that. I won’t bore you with the science behind it but take it from my experience in brewing down thousands of litres of liquid chai to bring you the most flavourful chai you savour at home.

With Chai Addict all the hard work of brewing has been done for you so you can create a warm and comforting cup of chai latte. But did you know you could reduce the chai concentrate further to create a punchier, spicier flavour for cooking or baking? Most recently, I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen whipping up all sorts of chai-spiced morsels and the results have been most impressive.

Mastering the Art of Reduction

To master the art of reduction, here are some helpful tips for simmering down 1 cup of Chai Addict concentrate.

  • Use a heavy based pot – this absorb, distributes and retains the heat more evenly
  • Use a small hob so it’s easier to control the heat
  • Keep it to a simmer, this is important. It’s a gentle bubble of the liquid. A vigorous boil not only agitates and releases more than water molecules, you’ll lose the all-important flavourful, aromatic compounds of the chai spices. Be patient and the rewards will be worth it
  • I recommend reducing the liquid by a quarter or half. Obviously the more it’s reduced, the punchier the flavour gets. It all depends on what you’re making. Experiment. This should take 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Store it in a sanitised glass jar, in the fridge and use it within 6 months

Ready to give it a go? Here’s a warming and light, healthy stack of chai pancake recipe for you to try out in your kitchen.