Masala chai, or mixed spice tea, is a drink from India made by brewing black tea with milk and a mixture of spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. It’s my go-to drink for this time of year and perfect for the holiday season. Instead of regular milk, I sometimes add almond milk whenever I make a fresh batch. The subtle flavor of the almonds is a nice complement to this aromatic tea.
Some people prefer unsweetened chai tea, however, I think some sweetness enhances the spices. For a healthier version, I added chopped dates to the mix but you can use honey or sugar. If you’re vegan, you can use all almond milk in this recipe, or alternatively use 1/2 cup of regular milk to achieve a more familiar consistency. Serve with vegan cocoa almond cookies made from the leftover almond milk pulp.
Masala Chai – The Perfect Winter Drink
- Warming spices like cinnamon and ginger are great during the cold winter months
- The perfect drink if you’re feeling sick and under the weather. The spice mixture is high in antioxidants and is said to help protect against cold and flu
- If you need to avoid caffeine, Masala Chai has much lower caffeine content than coffee
- The consumption of Masala Chai can calm an upset stomach
- Use fresh ginger for an even healthier version; ginger also adds a nice kick to the tea
- Feel free to play around with the amounts: Masala Chai is pretty forgiving so it’s perfectly fine to alter the recipe. Experiment until you find your preferred taste
Masala Chai Recipe
3-4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole cloves
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
2-3 dates, chopped
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups water
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup regular milk (use all almond milk for vegan version)
2 heaping tablespoons of loose leaf black tea (Darjeeling or Assam)
honey or vanilla sugar (optional for more sweetness)
Lightly crush cardamon pods, cinnamon and cloves in a mortar and pestle.
Put water in a pot and add crushed cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, dates and black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let the spices infuse their flavor for another 4-5 minutes.
Add the milk and almond milk to the pan and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea. Cover the pot, remove from heat and let it steep for 4-5 minutes.
Masala Chai is ready! Use a fine sieve and strain it into a teapot or directly into serving cups. Add honey or vanilla sugar if you like sweeter tasting tea.
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
December 8, 2011
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