Here it is! My full recipe for vegan chai- also known as “chaa” in Gujarati. I’ve been posting chai on my Instagram stories pretty frequently, and I’ve subsequently gotten numerous requests for a full recipe and tips for making vegan chai. This chai is a variation on classic Indian spiced milk tea made with black loose leaf tea. I use a higher ratio of nondairy milk to water to give a creamier end result. I also like adding lemongrass and mint which are not the most common additions but something I learned from my parents! I’ve also listed some additional tips at the end of the recipe. There is no single correct way of making chai, and people tend to have their own particular method and ratios. This recipe reflects my own preferences so feel free to tailor it to your own!
I hope you’ll try it out, and if you post to Instagram use #plantbasedartist! I’d love to see your creations 🙂
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 black peppercorns
4 green cardamom pods
3/4 cup water
Two 1/4 inch slices fresh ginger
2 inch stalk lemongrass, sliced
4-5 teaspoons raw sugar, to taste*
4 teaspoons loose leaf black tea**
2 sprigs fresh mint (about 10 leaves)
2 cups unsweetened soy or oat milk***
Begin by placing the dry spices – fennel, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and cardamom – in a mortar and pestle. Grind the spices to break them down slightly. Do not create a powder. If you do not have a mortar and pestle you can skip this step, but try to cut open the cardamom pods with a knife.
Add water to a minimum 2qt size size saucepan and add fresh ginger, lemongrass, sugar, and dry spices. Heat at medium-high heat and once the water boils, reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add the tea leaves and mint leaves and simmer further for around 2 minutes. There should remain just enough water so that the spices and tea leaves remain submerged. You may need to add a bit more water if too much evaporates during the boiling process.
Add milk, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil to the brim of the saucepan, then remove from heat for about 30 seconds. Return to heat and boil once more. Once the tea boils to the brim for a second time, remove from heat and set aside for about a minute. Drain the tea using a fine sieve into mugs/glasses. Enjoy!
*I like using raw sugar for chai as it lends a nice caramel flavor. Feel free to substitute with your own preferred sweetener such as maple syrup or leave it out all together.
**Loose leaf black tea is readily available at Indian grocery stores or online. The Chai Box has a great blend of three black teas called “true blend” and can be available at thechaibox.com (not sponsored)
***My favorite non dairy milks for chai are Whole Foods brand unsweetened soy milk and Oatly brand original oat milk (not sponsored). I do not recommend nut milks for chai as they tend to be too watery or can separate/curdle.