Low Fat, Caffeine Free, Sweet & Spicy Chai
December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
So I have to tell you, I’m not a perfect vegan. Sometimes I forget when I go out and order a fancy cafe drink that not everyone automatically uses non-dairy milk. I forget that a lot of drinks at cafes aren’t necessarily as homemade as I would wish them to be. Honestly it’s because it’s very rare that I spend money on fancy cafe drinks, so I forget how to order. And even when I think I’ve covered all my bases, I still make rookie mistakes.
About a month ago I went out for fancy cafe drinks with two of my girlfriends, and I thought I would splurge and get a hot chai. Of course I ordered it with soy milk. I was so enchanted by the atmosphere, the amount of chai options to choose from, the friendliness of the barista/ owner, that it didn’t dawn on me until after I took my first sip, that the chai mix probably wasn’t vegan. But I sipped on, considering the precious $4.00 I spent on this delicious drink from another universe. It really was so good. But I couldn’t shake the worry of there being some sneaky form of dairy in my cup.
So when I got home, of course I googled the brand of chai she uses, and to my delight they do carry a vegan line! Unfortunately the one particular flavor of chai I chose was not completely vegan. But I didn’t beat myself up about it. I’m only human, and it wasn’t like I cheated on purpose. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t cheat on purpose after dealing with the consequences of that sneaky dairy.
Later on in the night and throughout the entire next day my digestion was brought to a screeching halt. It was like my intestines just went to sleep. I was so bloated, crampy, and my appetite was just not the same since I had this stagnant matter in my tummy.
So all of this got me to thinking, how easy it would probably be to make my own chai at home. I did think about ordering the vegan flavor I found online, but to be honest I’m a broke betch these days and I feel much better knowing exactly what I’m drinking.
So I got to work with a little research, and luckily the health store in town has an amazing bulk spice section. I really am pretty spoiled. After lots of testing this is what I came up with; and yes it was equally as yummy as the dairy version!
- 5 cardamom pods
- 4 whole black pepper corns
- 1/2 tsp fennel
- 1 small sliver of fresh ginger, or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1.5 tbsp Rooibos tea, or other non caffeinated full-bodied tea
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1c almond, or other non-dairy milk
- 1c water
- A hand held strainer
Bring the water and milk to a slow boil, and throw everything but the rooibos, vanilla and coconut sugar into the pot. Turn to low, and let simmer until it becomes fragrant (about 7 minutes).
Pour in the Rooibos and let steep for about 3 more minutes. Stir in vanilla and coconut sugar, and turn the mixture off.
Strain mixture into mug, and garnish with leftover cinnamon stick.
Feel free to alter it to your taste. If you like it spicier, add some more peppercorns and ginger. If you like sweeter, add a bit more coconut sugar and vanilla! I just found that this was the perfect combination for a balanced cup.