I love Indian masala tea. I prefer my masala to be sweetly perfumed and warm, heavy on the cardamom, very light on the cinnamon, fennel seed and ginger, and preferably no cloves. Certainly no black pepper!
Chai means tea in Hindi, not necessarily masala tea, even the tea leaves are referred to as ‘chai ki patti’. Initially I found it funny when I saw ‘Chai Tea Latte’ advertised at various coffee shops, because it was redundant to me - Tea Tea Latte – but I soon caught on that they were referring to chai as the Indian style of making tea by boiling tea leaves, milk, sugar and spices. In Swahili, tea is also called chai, it comes from the Hindi word. I don’t believe there is any relation to the Jewish symbol Chai, meaning life.
Spiced milky drinks are delicious, comforting and indulgent. I made some masala tea with almond milk the other day. I thought it would be perfect because almonds are so ubiquitous in Indian desserts and go so well with gentle spices. Almond milk is made by soaking almonds and then grinding them with water. And you don’t need that many almonds. Almond milk is now very widely available, many supermarkets even make their own brands. Try to get the most wholesome one you can or you can make your own almond milk by following this link. I so love the rich and creamy taste of almond milk that I’ve taken to replacing cow’s milk with it in my tea, cereal, and baking. It is lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk, and it is high in vitamins and calcium, though not as high in protein.
In this recipe, I was heavy on the Almond Milk – it is a Latte after all.There was a lot of cardamon and just a hint of ginger, fennel seed, and cinnamon. You can add a few cloves /allspice/nutmeg if you wish. Do take the recipe below as a guide and tweak the proportions of the main ingredients to your liking. Can you believe this is only 49 calories per latte, unsweetened? I usually use 1 tsp of honey or coconut sugar to sweeten this latte.
Almond Chai Latte
Serves 2 mugs
Active time: 10 minutes
2 cups almond milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon tea leaves
4 plump green cardamoms, seeds crushed to a coarse powder
1 2″ cinnamon stick or a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped or 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed coarsely
Put all the ingredients together into a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, reduce to a medium simmer, and let it brew for 7-10 minutes.
If it gets too dark for you, you can add some more almond milk or use less tea leaves next time.
Strain the tea into a tea pot or mugs. Sweeten to your liking.
And don’t forget the milk foam. If you don’t have a frother or a fancy coffee machine you can make your own foam in the microwave by following this link.
Per Latte: Calories 49, Protein 1g, Carbohydrate 4g, Sugars og, Fat 4g, Saturates og, Fibre 2g. A good source of Phosphorus and a very good source of Manganese.