Believe it or not, the spices in chai -- ginger, clove, black pepper -- work really well with many dishes. Try it out by serving up a healthful Chai Quinoa over a harvest salad at your next luncheon. Or use brewed chai in our pumpkin chili instead of stock and take it to the big chili cook-off (don’t give away your secret ingredient).
Mix things up even more with chai-infused sugar to use in baking projects or to sprinkle on your morning toast. Seriously, keep it in a shaker on your counter.
So, of course we’re going to drink some of this sweet and spicy brew, too, but let’s make it five o’clock friendly. Chai-flavored vodka or rum are easy to make and work as excellent bases for delicious cocktails.
For the younger crowd or those who just want a little cup of comfort, you can also infuse your tea into milk or cream to use in some truly decadent hot chocolate. Chocolate chai? Oh, yes!
Speaking of chocolate, let’s move on to dessert. Substitute the water or milk in just about any cake recipe with strongly brewed chai -- or chai-infused milk -- and you’ll have the perfect sweet and spicy treat. Try it with our Apple Cardamom Coffee Cake; the tea really enhances the spices that are already in play.
You can easily use unbrewed chai instead of Earl Grey in these Ceylon Shortbread Cookies, or try brewed chai in place of water in your Danish Krumkake.
For a twist on the traditional, make our Sweet and Spicy Chai Rice Pudding. Or whip up a batch of three-ingredient tea ice cream.
Okay, so all of that was great, but it was entirely food-based. Now it’s time to talk about what chai can do for your personal well-being.
The easiest way to use chai is to pour it into a bowl and set it out on your counter, or tie it up in a sachet and toss it into your sock drawer. The scent of the spices and tea is invigorating and acts as a room freshener (without the nasty chemical smells associated with “real” potpourri).
Do some further self-care by taking your chai for a spa day. Mix up some homemade bath salts or sugar body scrub and indulge yourself in a chai-infused honey mask.
And if you’d still rather just drink your chai, that’s fine -- but make sure you’re sipping from a mug you love.
Last but not least, don’t forget to spread the sweet and spicy tea joy to others. Pop some chai into the mailbox and send it to a friend to brighten their day!
Top photo from Lablascovegmenu; all other photos by author.