Chai brings me cozy memories of my childhood, when my grandparents would sneak me sips of chai in the afternoon. It's soothing and comforting, yet gives me a nice kick to jump start my day - plus it has incredible amounts of health benefits.
Chai has become increasingly popular in the Western countries, however it has been used in India for centuries to preserve health and increase immunity. Unlike the syrup versions found at many coffee shops, traditional chai is a beautiful, aromatic blend of tea, herbs, and spices. It has been known to improve digestion, enhance the immune system, fight inflammation, and has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
You can enjoy it in the morning, or pretty much any time of the day. It has gently amounts caffeine to boost energy, but will not give you the crash coffee often does. Chai has helped me wean myself off coffee many times and now has become my morning staple.
Spices used in Chai:
Ginger is powerful in aiding digestion, reduces inflammation, and is especially helpful for people suffering from arthritic pain. It has antioxidant properties and some research has also shown that it can help fight cancer cells.
Cardamom not only aids digestion and supports the immune system, it is one of the most intoxicatingly aromatic spice I have ever smelled. It helps the body detoxify and improve circulation.
Cinnamon is great for balancing blood sugar and is also great for aiding digestion. Just like the other spices, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects.
Cloves help digestion and has analgesic (pain relieving) affect. It may help alleviate ulcer pain.
Black pepper not only helps with digestion, but may increase our metabolism. Black pepper also offers antibacterial and antioxidant support.
1 tsp grated Ginger
4-5 Fresh mint leaves
1/4 Chai Masala (you can make your own or buy it ready made from an Indian grocery store)
3/4 non dairy milk (I like organic soy milk)
1/2 tbs of coconut palm sugar (honey is also fine)
1/3 cup of water
2 tsp loose tea or 1 tea bag
1/2 cup peppercorn
30 green cardamom bulbs
1 1/2 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (optional)
1.Heat 1/3 cup of water in a sauce pan. Add tea, grated ginger,mint leaves, masala, and coconut sugar and let it come to a boil, then let it simmer on low heat for about 2 min. If you are using honey, add it all the way at the end once the chai is in your cup. (your kitchen should smell like heaven at this point)
2. Pour in the milk and let it come to a boil, then again let it simmer on low heat for about 2 min.
3. Turn the heat of and cover for 2-3 minutes to really let the flavors marinade.
4. Strain the tea, let it cool and enjoy it with love and gratitude!