vegan chai

The Indian spicy sweet tea and milk beverage called chai is more than just a cupful of yummy. The spices are actually tonic herbs that soothe digestion, boost mood and reduce inflammation—which of course can all be thrown out of whack by drinking dairy milk. But you can still enjoy the flavorful brew, without the dairy, and with all the benefits using this simple vegan chai recipe.

One of the greatest elements of making chai from scratch is that it fills your home with an aroma that you simply won’t get from steeping a teabag. And by using fresh ingredients, you pull more of the medicinal benefits, too.

Ingredients

1 cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
¼ of a nutmeg, grated
2 tablespoons of cardamom pods
1 half teaspoon of black peppercorns
A big 1 inch chunk of gresh ginger, grated
1 large vanilla bean sliced
1 dried red chili pepper
2 tablesoons maple syrup, agave nectar (honey is used traditionally, but not vegan) — add more if you want it sweeter, but the nondairy milk will give it an extra sweetness and you might find you like the spicy heat better than the sweet!
1-2 tablespoons loose leaf tea: traditionally black tea is used, like a good ceylon or darjeeling, but you can substitute with oolong, green, white or an herbal base like rooibos or even chamomile. Steer clear of mint, citrus or any flavored teas, though.
2 cups water
2 cups nondairy milk (almond is amazing!)

Method

Mix water and herbs in medium saucepan and bring to low simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes. Then add the tea and let simmer for another five minutes. Strain out the solids and return liquid to the pot. Add in milk and sweetener and heat low heat until warm. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon or nondairy foam.

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Image: norwichnuts