Creamy Cashew Chai Milk

Something about the Holiday season that just makes you crave delicious warm and cinnamon-y flavoured things, amiright?

After seeing some chai flavoured nut milk in a store a few weeks back, I thought I’d have a go at it. This could be made with other nuts (almonds, coconut) or hemp, or a combo of any of these but I was really looking for something rich and indulgent (tis the season!) which I why I went with cashews.

When I visited Kenya 7 years ago we had chai every afternoon. “Chai” literally means tea, but in North America, we call it chai tea because it has a distinct flavour different than our every day black tea. The chai we had in kenya was super creamy, slightly spicy and so full of flavour. It didn’t need much sweetness (or any at all). When I returned to Canada, I couldn’t drink a chai latte again- it was all wrong! I’ve tried many times to re-create the chai that I had in Kenya by boiling the spices directly in water, adding plain black tea and then adding milk and letting in simmer. It’s not quite the same, but it’s pretty close.

This cashew milk was inspired by 1. seeing chai nut milk in a store as mentioned and 2. my recent fondness of putting cardmom in my coffee. Throw all of this together with my never-ending quest to create that super creamy Kenyan chai experience and this is what I came up with.

Yesterday morning I tried it in my latte and OH MAN was it all the Holiday cheer I needed to get through a busy day of running errands and hosting friends.

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Cashews are incredibly versatile when it comes to vegan baking and cooking. Use them to make cashew sour cream, cashew “cheese”, as the base in a vegan cheese sauce or as a creamy filling in a raw pumpkin pie. Seriously, they’re amazing. I often have some laying around soaking and ready for use because I end up using them so often. For this recipe, I soaked 1 cup of raw cashews overnight in water (to speed this up you can soak them in boiling water for an hour or so).

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I also added 2 medjool dates for a little bit of sweetness. I recently discovered that my older dried out looking dates can simply be rejuvenating by giving them a little soak (this makes it easier for blending).DSCF7633

Once the cashews and dates were good to go, I rinsed the cashews and added them to my blender with 3 cups of water, pitted the dates and threw them in and then added the spices.DSCF7632

After a good blend on high for a few minutes, the creamy milk was pretty much ready to go!DSCF7636

I strained the milk with a nut milk bag but this step isn’t necessary. Cashews (especially once soaked) blend up really well and creamy and don’t really produce much pulp, but I do prefer to strain mine, totally just a personal preference. Once blended, store in the fridge in a container with a lid. 

As mentioned, it was amazing in a latte, but this would also be delicious with some granola or cereal, in a smoothie, in some oatmeal, or simply warmed up on it’s own for a cozy evening drink.

This recipe can be made with either more or less water, depending on your preference for creaminess. Less water gives it more of a coffee cream consistency, whereas the 3:1 water to nut ratio that I used gives it the consistency of whole milk.


Creamy Cashew Chai Milk

1 cup raw cashews, soaked

2 medjool dates, pitted

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger (this would be amazing with fresh ginger as well)

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. cardamom

A couple twists of ground black pepper

3 cups water

Directions

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. Strain through nutmilk bag (or omit this step) and pour into container with lid and refrigerate. Enjoy within one week.