While I am don’t include dairy or eggs as part of my weekday vegetarian goal for the week, I am trying to reduce to my overall dairy intake. I used to be a gallon or two of milk kind of guy, so cutting back and drinking other healthy alternatives was a good idea. Also, being a once a day coffee shop iced chai drinker was a habit that is not particular good for me and expensive to boot. It also slips this entry into other of my goals to cut back on what I spend in coffee shops and to drink more green tea.
I have made my own ice chai with varying degree of success over the last few years. At is best is was nearly as good as coffee shop chai at it.s worst it was… well, just not all that good.
One of my issues was the annoyance of getting the flavor of the spices out on a regular basis while retaining the health qualities of green tea. I wasn’t able to get the right mix of fresh tea, milk, spices and convenience that I wanted.
It wasn’t until I contemplated dairy free chai that I had the idea that I could integrate my dairy replacement with my spice extraction and have everything that I was looking for.
I had settled on cashew milk as my dairy replacement. I figured that the nutty flavor would meld well with the favors well and not over power the drink.
3 cups of water
1 cup of cashews
1 stick of cinnamon
2 tsps of whole cardamom (or 6-8 lightly crushed pods)
2 whole cloves
6 black peppercorns
Half a star anise
1 or 2 tbs of honey
Add the whole spices to the water and then bring to a full boil, stir in the honey until it dissolves into water. Turn the heat of and let set for 30 minutes. Poor the water into a container, straining out the spies, let the liquid cool to room temperature then add the water and cashew nuts to a blender. Turn on the blender on a low speed setting for 30 seconds or so, then turn it up to high for about a minute, Return mixture to container and refrigerate.
To make the ice chai, use a ratio of 2/3 green tea to 1/3 spiced cashew milk into a glass with ice. The particulates in the cashew milk will settle as it sits, so its good to give it a stir before adding it to the glass. If the glass sits for a while between sips, give it a swirl before you drink or you’ll find the bottom of the glass has a much stronger nut flavor that the first half.