Cheater's Almost Chai
2 tea bags, black or green
2 cups boiling water
2 small coffee filters & 2 twist ties
1 teaspoon, or to taste, Chinese 5-spice powder
pinch black pepper
sweetening, to taste, optional (I find the soymilk to be sweet enough)
2/3 cup vanilla soymilk (any vanilla-flavored nondairy milk would probably work- I use vanilla Silk)
Place 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice and a pinch of black pepper in the middle of each coffee filter; gather the sides and use the twist ties to seal closed. Using two large mugs, place a tea bag and a coffee filter in each. Divide boiling water between both mugs. Allow to steep for 3 minutes. Fish out the tea bags and coffee filters (a spoon may come in handy). Sweeten as you like. Add 1/3 cup vanilla soymilk to each mug. Enjoy!
(Really not so odd- 5-spice has anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and fennel, most of which are in chai anyway.)
Source of recipe: I love chai, but can't afford the mixes or whole spices. After a little trial and error in the kitchen, I came up with this quick, hot drink that's just as satisfying- without the price tag of ready-made.