Mango Chai Breakfast Shake
Embarrassing confession time. I promise I’ll be honest if you promise not to laugh. Capiche?
Okay. For the longest time, I thought that “chai” referred to some kind of Asian feng shui concept, like the energy of a paint color or something. I’m dead serious. I’d heard the term thrown around in casual conversations I’d overheard here and there…
“I love chai, don’t you?”
“Oh, that new place downtown has the most amazing chai.”
“Good chai is such a stress reliever for me.”
Plug in my feng shui theory and it sort of makes sense, right? In any case, I finally had a mental light bulb moment a few years ago when I saw the definition of chai in a food magazine along with some recipes and realized it was something you ate (or drank). I felt pretty ridiculous.
In any case, I gave chai tea a few tries after learning that it actually was a tea, but I didn’t jump up and down about it. It tasted too sweet and dessert-like to my tastes, so I stopped trying to love it and just gave up.
Only when I started using chai spices in my own recipes did I come around to loving the stuff. Like curry powder or chili powder, chai is not one spice in and of itself. It’s actually a blend of Indian-inspired spices that all land in the same ballpark: warm, toasty, subtly sweet, and deliciously fragrant.
Chai blends vary, but here are a few regulars you’ll find in most teas:
- Pepper or peppercorns
- Orange peel
Some teas, like this one, also include shredded coconut. Something about coconut pairs incredibly well with the toasty flavors of chai. One of my favorite ways to enjoy chai is in a chilled, creamy beverage like this Mango Chai Breakfast Shake.
I based the recipe on the Tropical Mango Rice Porridge recipe from my gluten-free cookbook. Mango, chai, and coconut are a dynamic trio that I could get used to eating just about every day.
How do you like your chai?
Mango Chai Breakfast Shake
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk or rice milk
½ cup frozen mango chunks
2-3 ice cubes
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 pitted Medjool date
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
Place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender or Vita Mix. Blend on high until creamy and smooth. Serve.
Note: If you don’t have a high-speed blender, place the shredded coconut and date in a small bowl. Cover with water and soak for a few hours or overnight. When you’re ready to make your smoothie, strain and blend as directed.
Hallie Klecker is the author of The Pure Kitchen, a gluten- and dairy-free cookbook with over 100 healthful recipes. She also writes the recipe blog Daily Bites, where she shares her passion for cooking with whole, natural foods. Hallie is a certified Nutrition Educator and former personal chef. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!