Nothing quite compares to a dairy free masala chai in the colder months. And quite honestly after discovering this warming, spicy, delicious creamy cup of goodness, I was determined to create one that was dairy free and health enhancing.
On my birthday this past year, I visited East is East, a local restaurant in Vancouver. And over the span of the evening, I had 6 dairy free masala chai. Yes, 6. I just. could. not. stop. And while it was made with soy milk, not my preferred dairy substitute, I was still hooked. Dairy Free Masala Chai
So the next day I set out to create a homemade recipe. I asked friends. I poked around on the internet. I threw a bunch of ingredients in a pot, standing over it sniffing throughout the day. And after pondering on how to amp up the nutrition on this drink creation, I decided on my long time favourite medicinal mushroom, Chaga.
If you are new to drinking chaga, its dark colour yet light flavour makes it a perfect base and its ridiculously high nutrient and antioxidant levels are a huge plus. It’s long been known for its immune supporting and anti-cancer properties, and a quick poke around on google will find you multiple sites dedicated to educating on it.
I’ve found this lovely local mushroom harvester who sells it at my farmers market and you can almost always find it somewhere locally with how popular it’s become (check your local health food stores). I’ve also ordered it online here or here. And for convenience when I just want to stir up a quick cup of chaga I use these.
In these chai adventures I’ve discovered that Dairy Free Masala Chai is kinda a personal thing. Some purists think its a sin to add in the ginger with the milk, others won’t make it without it. Some people will only use green cardamom, some add ground cinnamon in additional to the sticks. There are a ton of varieties in the amount and selection of spices so I invite you to play with the flavours to suit your tastes. Dairy Free Masala Chai
Find your perfect chai mojo. When you find it. You’ll know.
So what are the flavours?
- Cardamom Pods – the traditional chai flavour
- Cinnamon Sticks + Ground Cinnamon – for sweetness + warmth
- Fennel Seeds – gentle licorice note
- Fresh Ginger – fresh spice note
- Black Pepper – my personal fav – a spicy kick
- Cloves – musky + deep
- Anise Star – more rich licorice flavour
- Vanilla Bean – sweet + deep
- For purchasing your spices, I highly recommend checking out your local health food stores bulk section! They tend to have a wide selection of spices and herbs that are much more cost effective than the small jars.
For sweetening, I prefer raw honey or coconut sugar.
For the milk, I prefer almond milk or coconut milk (or a mixture of both) – make sure you use a natural one that doesn’t have a bunch of additional additives like guar gum and carrageenan. I find them unpredictable to work with (might cause curdling etc) and they aren’t always great for you.
Here is my Personal Favourite Dairy Free Masala Chai with Chaga!
*note – because I made this chai with chaga as the base instead of black tea leaves it won’t have any caffeine – which means you can also sip it in the evenings. You’re welcome.
3/4 Cup Chaga Chunks
3 + 3/4 cups water
10-15 whole green Cardamom pods, crushed a bit to release flavours
5-6 thin slices fresh Ginger
5 inch Cinnamon stick + 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
2 teaspoons Black Peppercorns
3 Cups Milk – Coconut or Almond or Cashew
Sweetener, to taste (I prefer honey or maple syrup)
Sometimes I add a Vanilla Bean 🙂
In a medium pot, combine the water and chaga chunks and bring to a light boil. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes on low heat. Strain out the chaga and place in a separate container (these chaga chunks can be reboiled to make tea 2-3 more times – keep them in the refrigerator). Now add in your spices – cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla and fennel. Bring to a boil and low the heat, simmering for a few minutes until the mixture becomes fragrant. I like to add a tiny bit of cold water as this point to not overcook the milk you’re now going to add. Slowly pour in the milk, and on very low heat for 1 more minute then try the heat off and let it steep for 2 minutes. Pour into your favourite mug with a fine mesh sieve. Add sweetener to taste.
Enjoy this beautiful recipe with friends and family, sitting next to a fire for best results. 🙂
Adapt the flavours to your perfect chai creation. xo Enjoy!
Tag your photos with #EatwithStacey on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations!