No need for Starbucks this morning!

19 Oct

I am in la-la land right now. Seriously relaxed. (I should go check my blood pressure. It’s probably at a record low!)

I just made a homemade chai latte that is out of this world.

In case you haven’t experienced this tasty drink, chai tea is a rich beverage with a complex blend of flavors. It’s a North Indian specialty made of black tea, brewed with a combination of spices, then mixed with sugar or honey and your favorite kind of milk. It is traditionally consumed sweet and warm because the sweetness brings out the flavors of the spices.

Most recipes suggest using Darjeeling, Assam, or just plain black tea leaves. I used a Rooibus for my brew today. I purchased the loose-leaf tea from Teavana in the mall. Chai spices usually consist of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and pepper. If you don’t have the spices in their whole form as listed in the recipe, don’t buy them in the little jars at the grocery store. They will cost you a bundle. Go to your local health food store where they sell spices in bulk. I bought mine in Toledo at Phoenix Earth Food Co-op. You can literally buy the exact number you need. The cardamom pods were something like $34 per pound, but I put 12 pods in a little bag and paid less than a dollar.

I found a basic chai recipe in one of the many vegan cookbooks I read last winter. I believe it was called The Complete Vegan Kitchen. I modified the recipe slightly and came up with this deliciously sweet and frothy latte. I’m going to have a hard time not drinking the entire batch in one day! (It’s a good thing I don’t have any biscotti in my house…)

Chai Latte
makes 6 servings

4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
7 whole cloves
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
8 black peppercorns (whole)
pinch of fennel seeds
3 tablespoons loose-leaf tea such as Rooibus, Darjeeling or Assam
1/2 cup sugar*
3 cups almond milk, coconut milk or soymilk

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, peppercorns and fennel seeds. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tea leaves and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a mesh strainer. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Let cool and store in the refrigerator.

To serve, heat 1/2 cup of tea mixture and 1/2 cup of your favorite milk. Whisk together until frothy. Garnish with a dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Enjoy!

*You can substitute honey or stevia for the sugar. Use slightly less than 1/2 teaspoon of liquid stevia.

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2 Responses to “No need for Starbucks this morning!”

  1. diana October 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    I totally agree with you about how this drink is so tasty. One of my really good friends is Chaldean and her family would drink chai all day, every day. I learned to appreciate a lot of “exotic” spices/flavors, in food and drink, from her family at a very young age. Thankfully.

    Today’s recipe hit a personal heart string. Thanks 🙂

    • tamiespears October 20, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks, Diana. The combination of flavors is definitely addictive!

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