I have a thing for chai. My mum has been making and selling her own tea blends for many years, and I’ve gotten used to having great tea around the house. Having worked for her for three years in her naturopathic clinic, I was drinking, making, selling and serving tea almost every day. I loved the smells that I would get from mixing different herbs and spices.
One thing that I never experimented with myself was making a spicy, rich, black tea based chai. She crafted the most delicious dandelion chai as well as a turmeric chai (I normally really don’t like turmeric chai when I have it out, but hers is pretty darn amazing). So, I set out on a mission to make a chai that would be bold, flavourful and healthy.
I liked the idea of using coconut milk in it as it gives it some extra depth. You can, of course, use any milk you like. I personally like coconut milk because it’s creamy, yet mild enough to be disguised underneath the flavours of the spices.
One thing to keep in mind is that after a few minutes of the chai being served, the milk will split in the chai. This happens with the milk that I have used. I personally don’t mind this because I only use organic, and filler-free plant-based kinds of milk in the kitchen. I would rather have it split than have some unnecessary ingredients. The only milk that I know that will hold it’s own that is rubbish-free is Bonsoy. Totally up to you what you want to use.
I like to buy all my dried herbs and spices in bulk food stores. They work out way cheaper than buying in the supermarket or health food store in small packets or glass jars. This is just one great way to reduce your waste. Take your own jar and get just as much as you need!
The thing that I like about making this chai is that I can easily see it become a ritual in my home. First thing in the morning, make a fresh batch of chai to get the day started. Takes longer to make than just an instant drink, but I think it’s well worth it! Even if it’s something that you do only on the weekend, enjoy the process of this deliciousness.
So, to get you into the mood, here is what you’ll need to make this beautiful, bold drink. Enjoy.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups coconut milk (not from a can)
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- Around 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 3 clove buds
- 10 black whole peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon quill (around 7 cm)*
- 2 tbsp black tea
- In a small pot, add in the water and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, using a mortar and pestle crush up the fresh ginger.
- Once the ginger is done, add in the rest of the spices (excluding the cinnamon quill) and crush them as pictured above, also making sure to break the walls of all the cardamom pods.
- Once the pot has boiled, add in the spices, sugar and the cinnamon quill.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Make sure to stir every minute or so.
- After 5 minutes, add in the black tea and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Strain the tea and spices and serve.
* Make sure to buy true cinnamon (ceylon), not cassia. Cassia is a lower quality cinnamon.
Please keep in mind that the reason I add the spices first and the black tea later is because if the black tea is left for too long, the whole chai will end up bitter. So if you find that your tea is too bitter, this is why. Also, if you don’t plan on drinking it all straight away, still strain it all. You can pop it in the fridge and have it the next day as well.
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