Ainsley Harriott's Caribbean Coconut Chai

Rich and warming with complex layers of spice, Ainsley Harriott's vegan chai tea recipe uses coconut milk instead of dairy for a Caribbean twist. As seen on ITV's Ainsley's Caribbean Kitchen.

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Chai is a spiced milk tea from India and this is my Trinidadian twist with the flavours of coconut and tonka bean. If you can’t find tonka bean, you can use a couple of cloves and a pinch of nutmeg or half a vanilla pod in the infusion.

Serves 4


400ml boiling water
2-3 tbsp loose black tea leaves
seeds from 10 crushed green cardamom pods (pods discarded)
1 cinnamon stick, broken
6 slices of fresh root ginger
1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
1 tbsp caster sugar, or to taste
nutmeg, for grating (optional)


Combine the boiling water and tea leaves in a saucepan and infuse the tea to your preferred strength. Strain to remove the tea leaves and return the tea infusion to the pan. Add the cardamom seeds, cinnamon, ginger and coconut milk and give everything a good stir. Grate in half of the tonka bean and set the pan over a low-medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse, but do not boil. Add sugar to taste, stir until dissolved and remove from the heat.

To serve, strain or ladle into glasses or cups and garnish with a grating of tonka bean or nutmeg.

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