It’s NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. For the month of November, I’m going to post every day. This is day 23.
Although I don’t drink coffee, I’m a huge tea drinker. We have an entire shelf devoted to different kinds of tea. Black, red, green, and herbal blends. They all have their own special time and place. The past year or so I’ve noticed that caffeine has been difficult for me to digest, so I’ve really tried to eliminate it from my diet. It’s a constant struggle of mind over matter to avoid the cravings. To make it easier, I allow myself more leeway on the weekends. Saturday morning breakfasts are not just special because of the pancakes, waffles, or egg dishes. They’re also special because I get to pair it with a real mug of tea, preferably topped with frothy milk. Depending on my mood, I might choose a classic English Breakfast tea, a smokey Darjeeling, or a spicy Chai tea. During the week I may have an occasional decaf breakfast tea, but I’ve yet to enjoy a decaf Chai tea. Additionally, I’ve discovered that not all brands of Chai are created equal. Some are amazing and I wish I could drink them all day every day, whereas others don’t seem to quite tickle with my palate.
Now that there’s no dairy and no caffeine in my life, what’s a Chai-loving girl to do? Try to strike out on my own and find a suitable alternative. Is this the overly sweetened milky black tea Chai that first caught my heart? No. Is it healthier, easy on my tummy, and possibly even more delicious? Yes. I’ll take it! (Especially as it comes without the caffeine jitters or stomach pangs.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 cardamom pods
5 coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. anise seed
1/2 tsp turmeric
scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
3/4 c. raw almonds
1. Crush cardamom in mortar and pestle, or with flat side of knife.
2. Put all spices in small saucepan. Add 2 c. water. Bring to simmer.
3. Turn off heat and cover. Let soak 4-6 hours, or overnight.
4. Soak almonds in enough cool water so they are well submerged and have room to spare. Let soak for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
5. Use strainer lined with cheesecloth or nut milk bag to strain spiced water over jar. Squeeze out all the spiced liquid. Rinse milk bag.
6. Drain and rinse almonds. In blender add almonds and 1.5 c. water. Blend until smooth and you have almond milk.
7. Strain into nut milk bag over jar. Squeeze to get out all the liquid.
8. Combine almond milk with chai spiced liquid.
1. Heat almond milk. Use whisk to froth.
Optional: Add 1 tsp. almond butter and whisk to dissolve.
Enjoy as is with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, a splash of vanilla extract, or add to freshly brewed herbal tea. Rooibos is a nice option.