I have always had a serious love affair with good quality teas. From the Gyokuro greens of Uji in Japan to the Ti Kuan Yin oolongs of Anxi County in China… tea makes life worth living. I often joke with my friends that someday I’m going to give it all up and move to the Yunnan province of China to grow pu-erh teas. Naturally, I love cooking with tea and lately I have been experimenting with more creative ways to highlight this great ingredient in my recipes.
This is tea week at One Ingredient Chef! I’ll be sharing several great recipes that use tea as a primary ingredient. It all starts with an out-of-this-world chocolate pudding infused with chai tea.
If I had to describe this pudding in one word, it would be haunting. The chocolate. The spices. The black tea. The flavor combination is indescribable and irresistible; silky smooth and comforting, but totally invigorating. It uses a tofu base that disappears behind chocolate and spices but gives the finished product just the right texture with tons of protein and fiber. If you have never made a tofu-based pudding before, this is a great one to try.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 15 oz extra firm tofu
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 chai tea teabags
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (maple syrup, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 coconut whipped cream recipe
The process of getting just the right amount of chai tea flavor into the pudding took some time to develop. It works like this… first, we’ll steep the tea with warm almond milk, strain it out and reserve the leaves for later, then add the chocolate and other ingredients into the almond milk tea. Finally, we’ll blend this liquid with the tofu and add a tablespoon of the reserved leaves right into the blender to drive the chai flavors over the top. It sounds complicated, but the process is really simple. Let’s get started!
Add 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (almond works best) to a saucepan with two teabags of chai tea. In my experience, none of the fancy and expensive tea brands work very well. My favorites are Peets or Tazo chai teabags, both are widely available and very affordable. You’ll want to break open the teabags and let the loose leaves mix in with the almond milk. Let this sit over very low heat for about 10 minutes to extract the full chai flavors. Stir regularly.
Using any type of tea or kitchen strainer, strain out the tea leaves and set them aside. Return the liquid back to the saucepan over low heat. Add in the cocoa powder, liquid sweetener, and coconut oil. Whisk until everything is melted and fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a blender, add the tofu, liquid mixture, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the chai tea leaves. Blend until smooth and creamy. Give this mixture a taste and adjust the sweetener and cocoa powder if needed. When the flavors are perfect, pour into a bowl and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Optional: Prepare a batch of my coconut whipped cream recipe (recommended) and add a dollop on top of each serving bowl along with some dark chocolate shavings.