Contributing Monkie Marni Wasserman
Published on January 9, 2012
Photographer Marni Wasserman
One of my favourite warming drinks this time of year is a Masala Chai Tea Latte. Not just any chai latte but my own home brew. Since I am not a fan of tea bags – as staples and strings make things so complicated and messy, and I can’t tolerate black tea (the caffeine gets to me) –this leaves me to create my own original herbal blend.
I’d like to consider myself an alchemist at times like these, playing in my kitchen coming up with different concoctions that I can infuse in some hot water and know it will always taste great! This holds truth especially when it comes to my favourite Chai blend! For starters, I use Nourish Tea’s Rooibos instead of black ceylon tea which is commonly used in most chai tea’s. Red tea (rooibos) is from Africa – it is super high in antioxidants and caffeine free! I then put in delicious warming spices that make up the taste that is uniquely chai (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, anise peppercorns, fennel…).
Making this brew is actually really simple, especially if you have all of these spices on hand – which I typically do. Not only do I love making my own Indian spiced recipes with a selection of these spices– but they are also useful for everyday nourishment and balance. They are warming, sweet, and aid with digestion. To make the tea complete I finish it off by pouring in a non-dairy based milk, either rice or almond milk with a touch of sweetness from either honey, coconut nectar or maple syrup.
Once it’s done I pour this liquid goodness into the biggest mug I can find in my cupboard, sit with a big blanket – all warm and cozy and sip it slowly – ideally in front of a fire (sadly this is not always the case). Unfortunately one cup is never enough, so I make sure to make enough for at least 2 or 3 servings!
I bet you can’t wait to find out my secret chai latte recipe (I guess it won’t be a secret any more!)
Traditional Chai tea is heated over an open fire – I don’t make mine on an open fire– unless a gas stove counts? However it still tastes amazing…so find out for yourself!
For the Cozy Chai Latte
1 cup pure water
1 cup rice, or almond milk
1 cinnamon stick
4 pieces of cloves
1/3 inch fresh ginger root, sliced
3 pieces whole peppercorns
1/3 tsp whole fennel seeds or anise
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp whole cardamom seeds
2 tsp. rooibos tea
1 tsp of either Honey, Maple Syrup or coconut nectar to sweeten.
1. Simmer all spices in 1 cup of pure water in a covered pot for 30 minutes.
1. Add the “milk” and bring to a soft boil.
1. Reduce the heat and simmer for additional 5 minutes.
1. Remove from heat, cool slightly to comfortable drinking temperature and strain through a small mesh sieve and serve in a Bodum Glass Cup or mug with your sweetener of choice.