The snow is falling, falling, falling. This city is covered in a blanket of white, and the air is still. It’s peaceful and quiet, almost like Christmas morning. I’m listening to this while I write, because it seems like the perfect soundtrack to a snowy afternoon. Part of my day was spent camped out on the sofa with my duvet, watching Masterchef Junior and eating avocado toast. As the afternoon rolled around, I made my way to the kitchen to make a cup of hot chocolate. On cold days like this, there’s not much more you need.
This month, the Recipe Redux asked its members to come up with a recipe that showcased our favourite healthy chocolate combination. With this challenge in mind, I decided to share a recipe for a masala chai hot chocolate, which is inspired by one of my favourite cafés. When I was in Hong Kong, I discovered a café specializing in organic loose-leaf teas and tea desserts called Teakha. It’s a teensy-tiny nook of a café, and its warm and inviting atmosphere, along with their delicious offerings, quickly made it my new go-to café. I tried as many teas as I could before I had to leave Hong Kong, and sometimes even ordered two in a sitting. Among the many I tried were the roselle and fresh mint tea, roselle milk tea with local honey, caramelized lemon iced tea, lemon verbena tea, Thai iced tea, their winter masala chai blend, and the masala chai hot chocolate.
While all the teas were wonderful, the masala chai hot chocolate was my favourite. I was skeptical about the combination before ordering, but after my first sip, I was hooked. It was unlike anything I had ever tried before: it had the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, which, combined with the richness of the chocolate, made for a delicious and warming drink. I’ve tried to replicate this very hot chocolate in my kitchen numerous times, but nothing has come close to the perfection of Teakha’s masala chai hot chocolate. This recipe is the closet I’ve come, but I will probably return to the kitchen to continue tweaking and fine-tuning until I have the perfect cup.
If you’re interested in the health benefits of chai tea, you can read about it in one of my previous posts here.
I’m dedicating this recipe to my friend and penpal Claudia, who is currently studying costume production at drama school in London. We bonded over our love of books, bookshops, tea, and food. I mentioned my love for this masala chai hot chocolate a few emails ago, so here we are. This one is for you, Claudia!
MASALA CHAI HOT CHOCOLATE
Yields 2 servings.
- 2 cups (500ml) water
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 6 tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 teaspoons good quality loose-leaf chai tea
- ground black pepper
1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the chai tea, and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. After 20 minutes, take 1/2 a cup of the chai tea and pour it in a small saucepan. Add the dark chocolate and whisk until melted. Pour the chocolate into two cups.
3. Add the almond milk to the rest of the chai tea in its pot, and bring to a simmer. Using a milk frother, froth the chai and almond milk. Pour the milk into two cups, and top with ground black pepper.
What’s your favourite chocolate pairing?
Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
PS. I know I’ve been sharing a lot of drink recipes lately. Don’t worry, real food is coming back soon!