EASY INDIAN VEGAN CHAI: MASALA CHAI
HOW TO MAKE vegan CHAI TEA LATTE
- Authentic Indian chai is made up of 4 components – black tea leaves, potent spices, full-fat milk, and a sweetener.
- Here’s what you’ll need for the chai spices:
- Whole black pepper
- Whole cinnamon sticks
- Ginger powder
- Cardamom pods
- Fennel seeds
- Ground nutmeg
- Saffron threads
Traditionally, these whole spices are simmered in boiling water and black tea to make masala vegan chai. In this recipe, we take a shortcut and grind all of the spices in a high-speed blender to make a spice mix that will last for up to 3 months. Store in an air-tight mason jar in your pantry and use again and again. You can also use the leftover spices for baked goods like in my Chai Masala Pumpkin Pie.
Follow these steps to make masala vegan chai tea…
- To make 1-2 cup servings, boil 1-2 cups of water
- Add a ¼ teaspoon of the masala chai mixture and 1 teaspoon of black tea leaves (or contents of 1 whole bag) Do not boil the tea leaves for long or else you will have bitter tea. Cover the tea with a lid for 30-45 seconds and let the flavors marry
- Add a ¼-1/2 cup of plant-based milk of your choice and turn off the heat
- Strain the entire mixture (spices and black tea leaves) in a fine-mesh strainer and enjoy masala chai!
WHICH DAIRY FREE MILK IS BEST IN TEA OR vegan CHAI LATTE
Chai usually includes whole milk but in this recipe, we make it dairy-free without sacrificing the creaminess. I’ve tested it using homemade almond milk (1 cup of almonds blended with 3.5 cups of water) and because it lacked the emulsification agent that commercially-produced milk tend to have, it acted more like water than milk in the tea and didn’t add creaminess.
I’ve had the best success with oat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk. When choosing between plant-based milks be sure to choose the barista version of oat milk or almond milk, for example, as they are thicker and are specially crafted for lattes and coffees. Barista blends have also been tested to withstand high caffeine content, preventing the plant-based milk from curdling once it hits the hot tea.
WHAT KIND OF TEA TO USE FOR MAKING vegan CHAI LATTE
Homemade Indian Chai is best prepared using loose-leaf black tea such as English Breakfast and Ceylon, which are strong, full-bodied, dark teas. It doesn’t have to be an expensive tea as the spices and milk will be the standout flavors. You can just use basic Lipton black tea bags and empty out the contents since we have to strain out the spices before enjoying the tea anyway. Each bag of tea has about 1 teaspoon of tea, which is how much you would use per cup serving if you were using loose tea.
WHAT SWEETENER TO USE IN YOUR vegan CHAI LATTE
Depending on what kind of plant-based milk you use, you may prefer to skip the extra sweeteners. It’s meant to balance the spicy and somewhat bitter flavors in the tea. If your milk is already sweetened, then your chai will reflect that sweetness. Sometimes when I’m traveling I’ll get a chai latte from the local cafe and it’ll taste way too sweet. I think this is due to them using an instant boxed chai latte mix that has cane sugar in the ingredients. When you’re making this recipe at home, you can decide to add sweetener or not. It’s better to start with unsweetened plant-based milk and then add extra sweetener at the end, if necessary.
Use 1/2-1 teaspoon of the following healthy sweeteners:
- Maple Syrup
- Coconut Sugar
- Date syrup
- Monk fruit extract (choose one with an erythritol blend so it’s not overly sweet and start with 1/16 of a teaspoon at a time)
I can’t wait for you to try it. Please leave your comments below and tell me how you served this dish! Also, share or tag us on social media @veggiecurean.