Vegan Indian Masla Chai. Fabulous almond milk tea with cardamom and other spices.
A quick how-to post today.
Masala Chai was the last of the non-vegan foods to be eliminated from our diet. Hubbs and me both grew up guzzling cups of chai every morning with breakfast. It would be mostly milk and lightly flavored with tea till we hit the teens, then it was small cups every now then with friends, every time we visited anyone, at evening hang outs, in the wee hours of the morning during exams, and on and on. Dad still has a cup every 2-3 hours at work. No wonder we were so stuck to it, or more stuck to the dairy in it. The thick creamy concoction made with dairy milk, boiled for minutes and minutes, had not only the addiction from milk and tea but also several memories associated with it.
I have an older post with a creamer that was the recipe we finally settled on some years back. And now after trying several other plant milk options, this is our current chai. The recipe works well with other almond milks and soy milk too. The additives in some of the packaged plant milks though change the texture and consistency of the chai enough that it can go from great to unpalatable if not used correctly(over heated or not heated enough, or curdles at high heat). Some of the preference is also related to the fact that the Chai has to uphold to our strong taste and texture memories. For someone who is flexible with the taste, the recipe will work with a lot of other plant milks as well.
I also made this Chai with So Delicious Barista creamer. The creamer gives it the appearance of thick and creamy chai, but doesnt add as much creaminess as the almond breeze. I think it has to do with all the gums, thickeners and additives. Home made almond milk or coconut milk also does not work as well. The creamer is a really good shelf stable option for travelling or just heading out to a non vegan event.
Why the hassle to find the home made or packaged plant milks that works best? Same reason we all look to find cheese alternatives or other things from our pre-gan days. With the preference for steeped in water teas growing in this house, soon we might not be drinking the morning chai at all. It is a great option to have for anyone visiting though. Mom and dad drink Chai 3 to 6 times in the day. Mom loves the easy access to almond breeze when she visits.
There is also the option to use cashew milk, packaged or home made. The thing with cashew milk is that the heat thickens up the cashew milk really quickly and the thick texture might feel too different or new.
For any milk you use, give it some time. Try it a couple of times instead of just once. It takes time to get used to the change. Sometimes just 1 or 2 tries and you find the one, and sometimes many. Keep trying different plant milks for the ones that work best for you.
More Indian Beverages
Thandai – Creamy Spiced Poppy Seed Almond milk Spring drink.
Aam Panna – Spiced Raw mango cooler
Mango Lassi – Sweet mango yogurt Smoothie
Get all the ingredients for the chai ready. Clockwise from the top. Raw sugar, grated fresh ginger, Chai patti(dry loose tea), chai masala blend.
Boil the tea, chai masala, ginger and sugar in water. Bring to a rapid bubbling boil.
Pour the plant milk slowly.
Bring to just about a boil, then strain and serve.
This creamy Chai Latte.
You can also use an infuser. Add the tea and spices to the infuser and keep that in the boiling water. Add the milk, bring to just about a boil. Pour tea in a cup. Remove or keep the infuser in the cup and serve.
- 3/4 cup water
- 1.5 Tbsp raw sugar or other sweetener to taste
- 2 tsp chai patti/loose tea
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chai massala blend
- 1/2 to 1 tsp minced/grated fresh ginger some fresh gingers are too strong, so use to taste
- 1 cup Almond breeze plain almond milk or other non dairy milk.
- In a small deep pan at medium heat, add water, sugar, tea leaves, chai masala blend and ginger. Bring to a bubbling boil. 7 to 9 mins
- Slowly pour the almond milk. Bring the mix to just about a boil. 6 to 8 minutes.
- Strain into a cup and serve hot. Compost the tea leaves.
- Note: some plant milks tend to separate when added to the hot water. Add a Tbsp cold/room temperature water to the boiling water to bring the temperature down. Then pour in the plant milk.
Chai Spice/Masala blend:
Grind 3/4 cup green cardamom pods, 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks or 2 Tablespoons cinnamon powder, 1/4 cup cloves, 2 Tablespoons whole black pepper, 2 to 3 Tablespoons ground ginger. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds(optional). Store in airtight container.
Change the quantities around to preference. Add more ginger for a winter chai masala. Add a tsp of nutmeg and all spice for variations.
Use the spice blend in ice creams, doughnuts, caramel, bread, granola and more.
Nutritional values based on one serving