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© David James Di Pardo 2011

This recipe was inspired by a recipe for a Dirty Chai Toddy posted on the Food52 website a while back. I made it once and was instantly hooked, of course you could make this into a toddy by adding a shot of bourbon to it. Personally I’m not big on alcohol, at least not early in the morning which is when I tend to enjoy this. The recipe is slightly sweet but if you prefer your dirty chai on the sweeter side as do I, you can always add a little extra sugar to your cup, or as I do, a little agave nectar. This recipe will make enough for one large cup (about 15-16 ounces) which is how I like it but it could easily be divided among two regular size mugs.
I’ve added a small amount of arrowroot which is optional but I find it makes the chai extra smooth and creamy minus the cream. Most recipes I’ve come across use either whole milk or worse, half and half. So in an attempt to make this vegan, and a little more heart healthy, I’ve opted for vanilla soy milk. The arrowroot will thicken it it just slightly and give the drink a little more body, without adding the extra guilt its non vegan counterpart brings.
Note: For a more balanced dirty chai, use 2 tea bags and 2 ounces of espresso. Personally i prefer mine stronger on the espresso side so I use 2 ounces of espresso and only one tea bag, feel free bump up the tea and half the espresso if that’s what floats your boat.

Dirty Chai

  • 12 ounces vanilla soy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon arrowroot power (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 green cardamon pods
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 3/4 inch piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice, Turbinado sugar, or agave
  • 1-2 sachets of organic whole leaf black tea (See note)
  • 1-2 ounces of espresso (See note)

In a small sauce pan, whisk together the soy milk and arrowroot, set stove to medium heat and bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer.

Using a mortar and pestle lightly crush the cardamon pods and black peppercorns, add to the soy mixture along with the cinnamon stick, ginger and sugar. Simmer for about eight minutes stirring often.

Remove from the heat and add the tea sachet(s) and steep for 5 minutes.

Strain out the tea sachets and spices, reheat if necessary. Pour into warmed mug(s) and top off with espresso. Adjust sweetness according to taste and enjoy.

Tip: If you’d like to dress it up a little, once the soy milk mixtures is done steeping and has been strained it can be refrigerated for up to a day and then steamed with an espresso machines to make it extra frothy and delicious.