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A simple, dairy + sugar free chai tea recipe, straight from the streets of India.
Did I ever tell you about the time I went to India for 3 months to study yoga in an ashram?
Yeah, I did that.
It was 2008 and I was on a mission to “find myself” after losing my mom. It was my woo-woo phase as I mentioned in a previous post. In fact, writing that post about woo woo and manifesting your dreams (even if you’re a critic of the process like me) brought me back to my experience in India and of course, my experience with Chai tea.
You can buy Chai Tea at the store, but…
Let me assure you, the stuff you can get in a carton here in the US is a sad representation of what you experience in India. I remember waking up for yoga class at 5am every morning and heading to grab a chai before the day began. I’d go to this guy who had a little hut on the side of the little road in Rishikesh just outside the ashram. He would make tea in a big cauldron that looked more like a witches brew. I’d order a cup, and he’d hand me a small glass (no vente lattes in these parts).
This was in no way a Starbucks experience. You had to drink your not-so-grande chai in the street so you could pass back the dirty glass to him. Meanwhile, you’d dodge the odd motorcycle, stray dog and cow poop (not always successfully) as you sip your tea.
I have so many chai flavored memories of India. Truth be told it was a really hard trip for me. It’s not an easy country to travel at all. However, the tea was a constant comfort, always tasting amazing whether you were drinking it in a restaurant or from a thermos from a near homeless kid who was selling it in the train station to feed his family. It was always good.
So this is my spin on chai. I claim it as my own because it’s the perfect blend of spice, sweetness and yum-factore. It’s also dairy and sugar free.
Simple Chai Tea Recipe - Dairy & Sugar free
- 3 cardamom pods
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole peppercorns
- 4 black tea bags
- 2 teaspoons of stevia
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups almond milk
- Place cloves, cardamom and peppercorns in a bowl; with the back of a spoon, crush spices until aromas are released.
- In a medium saucepan, add the tea bags, stevia, ginger, cinnamon stick and boiling water. Bring to a boil, then cover and steep for 4 minutes on low heat.
- Then add the almond milk. Let it simmer for 1-2 more minutes until it’s hot again.
- Strain tea, discarding spices and tea bags and pour into mugs.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.