Make Room In Your Banana Bread Recipe For Chai Mix

Aside from an overripe banana, technically all you need in order to make a loaf of banana bread is flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and baking powder. This simple combination of ingredients is enough to yield tasty results on its own, but let's be honest, the flavor can often be pretty plain unless you add a mix-in or two.

One of the most common ways to spruce up banana bread is to add a handful of chocolate chips, which can ultimately make your banana bread more decadent. Some people also prefer incorporating chopped walnuts for added texture and a more banana nut muffin-like flavor. And of course, there's always the option to use powdered sugar to create a sweet glaze on top. Any or all of these methods are sure to upgrade your banana bread, but if you're looking to change up the flavor profile entirely, there's another ingredient you may want to consider adding instead: chai mix.

How much chai mix should you add to banana bread?

Most people think of chai as a type of tea, like jasmine tea or chamomile tea, but the truth is it just means "tea" in Hindi. The term however does generally refer to the way tea is commonly prepared in India. In addition to black tea, chai is made with spices that typically include some combination of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cloves, pepper coriander, nutmeg, and fennel.

If you think of chai mix as a spice blend that also happens to include black tea, adding it to banana bread isn't all that different from adding cinnamon to an apple pie, or vanilla extract to cake batter. For the best results, you'll want to add 1 1/2 teaspoons of chai mix for every cup of mashed banana in your recipe. Just mix it into the batter and when it bakes you'll most definitely be able to taste the difference.

What happens when you add chai mix to banana bread?

Chai has a very strong flavor, but adding it to banana bread batter won't necessarily make it taste like a cup of tea. That's in part due to the fact that bananas already have a naturally strong flavor. Ever made a fruit smoothie and all you could taste and smell was banana? Well, according to Boston Magazine, assistant professor of food science and chemistry at Framingham State University Vinay Mannam says that it's because of the banana's isoamyl acetate, an organic compound that has the same effect whether the banana is in a smoothie or a loaf of banana bread.

Certain chai spices however are able to balance out this flavor and aroma-producing compound. Clove, for example, has a unique, almost spicy flavor that cuts the creaminess of the banana. Nutmeg, on the other hand, counters the sweet aroma of banana with its earthiness. Then there's the cinnamon and cardamom. Both have citrus-like notes that add brightness and complexity. Add chai mix to banana bread therefore and the resulting baked good will taste like the classic but with a much more enhanced flavor, thanks to the added spices.