Full of freshly ground spices and fragrant flavors, this Spicy Vegan Earl Grey Chai tea is a warm delight with an exotic core. Uplifting, aromatic and a great alternative to coffee, this Masala chai is made from a mix of crushed anise stars, cinnamon and green cardamom pods combined with tea. But we gave the traditional recipe a twist, by swapping the buffalo milk used in India for almond milk, and instead of black tea we used Earl Grey, simply because we love the citrus flavor of bergamot oil combined with the spices.
So keep in mind this is a basic chai recipe and there is no end to the diversity of ingredients and spices that you could use for making your own version. We recommend you start with these basics and also try adding things like vanilla, bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, fennel seeds, peppercorns or even lemongrass to it. Move over java -- we're jump-starting our day in a different way!
1. Gather the ingredients
- 2 ¼ cups of filtered water
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 4 cardamom pods
- 4 bags of Earl Grey tea (or ¼ cup of loose tea)
- 2 cups of almond milk
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
2. Grind the seeds
Grind the anise, cinnamon and cardamom pods using a mortar and pestle.
3. Star anise alternative
If you cannot find star anise you can always use loose anise seeds, which are sometimes easier to source.
Make sure the precious Cardamom pods open and the seeds are released and then crushed.
5. Earl Grey tea bags
Take the string and label from the tea bags and get ready to boil.
6. Bring all elements into the pan
Bring the water, tea bags, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom to a pan.
Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, until the tea goes very dark.
Strain and serve in a cup.
9. Add milk and sugar to taste
Add the almond milk, a small spoon of brown sugar and stir. And don’t forget to add some cardamom pods at the bottom of your favorite people’s cup as a friendly surprise!
Photos by Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitots