While enjoying my month sans coffee, I’ve become a bit of a chai snob and although I have my favourites (hit me up for the list) I have recently resorted to making my own…
Because there’s chai and then there’s chai. You with me?
A good chai punches you with spices, softens the blow with a little sweetness and richly infuses the milk in which it’s brewed, so that every sip transports you to a quaint ashram in India.
But how often have you ordered a chai at a cafe only to be served some warm milk with the faint taste of black tea? Yuck! It should be illegal.
This chai will leave no such distaste in your mouth. It’s full of flavour, caffeine free and without tooting my own horn, one of the yummiest chai’s I’ve had the pleasure of sipping on.
Three things you should know before you get started:
1. This is called sticky chai, because it’s kept wet in a glass jar in the fridge. The wetness is from the honey, the fresh ginger and turmeric and the squeeze of citrus. I like how the stickiness keeps the flavours alive. Try it and you’ll get what i’m harping on about, promise.
2. This mix is for a dandelion chai, because I’m choosing to be caffeine free for March, but if you’d prefer to make it with tea, substitute the roasted dandy for black tea leaves.
3. The secret to a killer chai is good quality whole spices (not the ground stuff that’s been sitting in your pantry for three years). So go to a spice shop or bulk food store and buy some fresh stuff. You won’t regret it.
The Best Sticky Chai Recipe
- 1 tablespoon of cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon quills, broken up into pieces
- 4 star anise,
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup Roasted Dandelion
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely grated turmeric
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
1. Heat a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cardamom pods, cinnamon, star anise and fennel seeds and toast for 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and lightly bash to break spices into small pieces.
2. Place the roasted dandelion in a small bowl and stir through the toasted spices with the vanilla, ginger, turmeric and lemon juice.
3. Heat the honey until it’s a runny consistency and then stir it through the dandelion chai blend. Transfer it to a small glass jar and keep refrigerated.
4. To make a delicious dandy chai for two, place 2 teaspoons of chai and 1 cup of hot water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Add 1 cup of milk of your choice (I switch between coconut, almond and cashew) and place back over the heat, stirring, until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Let it steep for 2-3 minutes to let the flavours develop. Pour into your favourite mug and sprinkle with some ground cinnamon.
For more coffee-free alternatives check out this post.