There is nothing better than homemade indian chai in the morning. All the cafes have tried to imitate traditional recipes, but they all add syrups, mixes or too much sugar. Here's our favorite family recipe, which I'm sure you'll love. It's spicy, delicious and a great pick me up:
Boil 4 cups water in a pot. Add 3 teaspoons of black tea (CTC is the best, the stronger the better), a few teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon of tea masala (a blend of spices which you can pick it up at any local indian food store). If you don't have an indian store nearby, just use dry spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves or star anise.
Boil for 2 minutes and then add lowfat milk. If you don't like or can't have dairy, skip the milk. Boil for a few more minutes. Warning...don't leave the pot unattended while the tea with the milk is boiling. Trust me, you'll have a huge mess on your hands! Avoid this by immediately reducing the temp once the chai begins to boil and moving the pot so that it's not sitting directly on the burner. Let the chai simmer for a couple of minutes and then strain and serve.
All of this may sound like a lot of work for a cup of tea, but believe me it's more than just any old tea, and it's definitely worth it!!!
How to Make Your Own Tea Smoothie
Whether you're a fan of black tea, green tea or any other type of flavored tea for that matter, it may surprise you to know that transforming your favorite flavor of tea into a delicious tea smoothie is actually easier than you may think.
All you need in order to make a tea smoothie is 1 cup of brewed and chilled tea, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of frozen or crushed fruit, 1/2 cup of crushed ice, and 1 cup of a liquid base. (This can come in the form of yogurt, milk, ice cream or even soy/almond milk as well). Some people like to add 1 tablespoon of honey to give the smoothie a little extra flavor, however, this is only optional.
First brew your desired flavor of tea, and then pour it into a bowl or leave it in the refrigerator to cool for 45 minutes. Next, add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth, (make sure you add the crushed ice last).
When it comes to choosing what type of fruit you want to include in your smoothie, this truly depends on the flavor of tea you are using; however, the general rule of thumb in making tea smoothies is that you should add at least 1/2 a banana into the mix because it helps with both the texture and the flavor of your smoothie.
Some of the most popular kinds of fruit you could add to your tea smoothie include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapples, mangos and blackberries, or you could even try mixing them all together if you're feeling exceptionally experimental.
However, green tea smoothies taste best when combined with bananas, blueberries and strawberries, black tea smoothies mix well with strawberries and raspberries, and rooibos smoothies taste great with peaches. (And perhaps it goes without saying that berry teas taste the best when mixed with different types of berries).
You can even try experimenting with different types of flavored yogurt to use as your liquid base if you don't feel like buying different fruit each time you make a smoothie.
If your smoothie did not turn out as you had hoped, keep in mind that making your own smoothies usually requires a sort of trail-and-error process. So if you can, try to experiment with not only the different types of ingredients you add into your smoothie, but the amount of ingredients as well.
Bio: Aside from school and working part-time as an Assistant Chef, Bridget Sandorford is the resident Culinary Schools blogger where recently she's been researching culinary masters programs specifically culinary colleges in California. Her passion for food has followed her research into many different areas, such as nutrition, fitness, organic foods, gardening, and cooking on a budget. She lives outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
Here is a delicious and refreshing chai recipe that has the wonderful spicy flavors normally associated with chai that you can even drink during the summer. We use Rooibos as a base tea in this recipe because of its mild, sweet flavor and also because it is caffeine-free. The Vanilla flavored Rooibos also gives this chai smoothie a wonderful, creamy flavor.
1 tsp Rooibos tea with Chai spices (or Rooibos Chai)
2 tsp Vanilla flavored Rooibos tea (or Creamy Vanilla Rooibos)
2 tsp Agave nectar or sugar
2 scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream
Combine the Vanilla flavored Rooibos, Chai flavored Rooibos and Agave/sugar and brew for 5-7 minutes with 8 oz. boiling water. You can use the Smart Tea Maker or your favorite brewing method for loose tea. You might be wondering why 3 tsp. of tea for just 8 oz. of water. The reason for this strong brew is to offset the dilution from the ice cream and create a concentrate of flavors. After brewing, chill for 1 hour.
Combine chilled tea and ice cream in a blender and blend well. Pour smoothie mixture into glasses and serve with a cinnamon stick. Makes approximately 2 glasses.