Vegan Chai Tea

A Spicy Treat for Daydreamers

I think I have purchased every available brand of chai tea on the market.  Our tea cupboard is packed with boxes of chai tea - and you can tell which ones we like; the empty ones.   So I decided to make my own.  I initially had visions of me at my day job spending hours in the kitchen slowly preparing spices and heating them up on my own portable cooking element, but they're on to me already.  So, home preparation is the go.  

I purchased some heat sealable teabags.  Most of these I will use to infuse oils with herbs for the soaps I make, but here is another use.  Of course, a mesh tea-ball will do, I just chose the bag because some of the spices will be powdered and I didn't want too much sediment in the final brew (you can always let it settle and just avoid serving the last bit, if you are strong-willed).

My partner and I went to Gaganis Bros on the weekend (if you don't know what this is, it's a magnificent, no, glorious, food wholesaler in Hindmarsh, Adelaide) and we bought up big on spices.  

So, I don't really have a recipe, I just judged from my own preference for spices how much I would like in a brew for two (say that in a Toorak accent), so I can suggest this:

1 half teaspoon of ginger powder (fresh is better, no doubt, but I chose this because I thought about making up bags to use at other times, so dry ingredients would obviously be better)
4 cloves
2 whole star anise pods
1 half teaspoon of cardamon seeds
1 half teaspoon of cracked black pepper
5 whole pimento (all spice)
3 quarters of a teaspoon of cinnamon powder (I could only find sticks in kilogram bags, so powder had to do)
4 teaspoons of black tea (the stronger the better)

Put the spices in a mortar and give them a few grinds with a pestle.  If you don't have a mortar and pestle, pounding the spices in a plastic bag with something hard might work!

Tip the contents and the black tea into the teabag.   At this point, I also added a piece of orange peel.  Iron the open side of the bag to seal it shut.  And there you have your chai teabag.

In a small saucepan, I heated a mug's worth of water and a mug's worth of soy milk.  To this, I added the teabag, two teaspoons of homemade vanilla essence (thanks to a lovely Christmas gift) and a couple of tablespoons of vegan cream.  The vegan cream comes from a simple recipe my friend Karena (Magic Jelly) has graciously shared on her site and consists of cashews, soy milk and canola oil.  It is super easy to make and is very versatile, as the recipes on Karena's site explain.  The addition of vegan cream takes the chai to another level, but it really is optional.

Illustrated above, the spices, the cream, the vanilla essence and the tea bag.

I was fortunate enough to be presented today with a dozen vegan coffee cakes, again, courtesy of Karena.  She has the recipe on her site and this is a modified version from a recipe for East Coast Coffee Cake found in Vegan Brunch.  Delicious.

Making the chai teabag took about 10 minutes including clean-up, so it's an easy and worthwhile treat for lazy Sundays.