Pamela is a healer, intuitive, yogi, and a contributing editor to Earth Mamma. She recently wrote about her life-changing trip to Rishikesh, India and here she shares a re-creation of one of her favorite drinks there.
Once you arrive in India, you realize how significant chai is. Chai is everywhere, day & night. It’s a beautiful cultural staple. There are makeshift chai carts on the streets, boasting of spices and large pans to construct it right before your eyes! One of my favorite haunts in Rishikesh was The Juice House, a vegan oasis filled with organic fresh fruit smoothies and vegan coconut chai. I absolutely adored their vegan variation on the traditional chai, so I made it a serious point to recreate this once I returned home. The Juice House coconut milk chai was heavy on the cinnamon (which I LOVE!) but because it’s spring, I thought I would recreate this chai to be a little lighter and a bit more floral; so I added in some fresh ginger and dried lavender. The result is absolutely delicious!
4 Cardamon Pods
2.5 Cups of Water
1 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Tablespoons of Dried Lavender
2 slices of Fresh Ginger
5 Black Tea Bags (I prefer Organic India Breakfast Tea or Rishi Tea)
2 Cups of Coconut Milk
.5 Cups of Coconut Cream
.5 Cups of Honey (or Agave)
Start by gently crushing your cardamon pods to release the essence. Add these to the water, along with the star anise, cinnamon stick, ginger, lavender and tea bags. Bring this all to boil for at least 5 minutes, up to 8 minutes, to make a very dark tea mixture. Depending on your tastes, you may want to let the lavender and ginger steep a bit longer. Strain the ingredients with a fine mesh strainer. Add in the coconut milk, coconut cream (the cream adds density, because traditional chai uses whole milk and a lot of sugar, the coconut milk alone can be a bit runny.) and honey to the tea mixture. Heat everything and begin to whisk the ingredients to create a frothy effect (you can also use a fork).
Remove from heat & serve hot!