Homemade Traditional Chai (with a few twists)
When my husband, David first went to India in 2007, he was introduced to authentic chai. Chai is a traditional and staple drink in India. Like teatime in England, so is chai time in India.
Needless to say, my husband came home from that first trip and started making this delicious recipe. He now drinks it every day. I love it too and while he makes his with raw milk, I prefer mine with coconut milk. Either way this recipe is delicious, spicy, yet soothing, and delightful. Once you drink this authentic recipe, you will not want to go back to store-bought or chain restaurant style chai.
Chai is a delicious and cleansing beverage that has many health benefits. According to Ayurvedic ancient traditions, chai helps to generate internal warmth, stimulates the digestive fire, assists with elimination and proper circulation, and creates a state of balance and clarity in all of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).
According to Ayurvedic traditions, all the ingredients in this drink have specific medicinal purposes for each constitution. The ginger is cleansing and helps to build courage and digestive fire strength. The black tea improves concentration and alertness. The cardamom cools anger and frustration and diminishes disappointing thoughts, while the sugar or sweetener calms and helps facilitate, along with the milk fat, getting the herbs deep into our system. The saffron increases mental clarity and improves insight. Milk calms anxiety and is comforting and stabilizing. The optional additions of turmeric and black pepper add an anti-inflammatory effect to the body. Chai is the perfect proportions of yin and yang and can be enjoyed hot or cold!
Ingredients (for 2 cups of chai)
1 cup water
1 cup milk (can use raw whole milk, full fat coconut milk, or almond milk)
2 inches of fresh ginger root (peeled and grated)
1 inch of fresh turmeric (peeled and grated) or ½ tsp dried turmeric powder (optional)
1 Tablespoon unflavored black tea (loose tea-Assam)
6 green cardamom pods, ground with mortar and pestle
1 Tablespoon of Sucanat, Rapadura, Coconut sugar, or Monk Fruit Sweetener- *I use ½-1 dropperful of Whole Leaf Stevia for sweetener instead of the sugar for a sugar free alternative
1/8 tsp black pepper (optional)
1 Medjool date (optional)
Several threads of Saffron (4-5)
In a stainless-steel saucepan, add grated ginger and turmeric, add water and bring to a boil. Add tea and boil for 2 minutes. (The ginger must be boiled at least 2 minutes before adding the milk portion)
Add the milk and other ingredients to the saucepan of boiling tea, ginger, turmeric, and water.
Bring to a boil after other ingredients are added. Take off stove and stir and place back on stovetop for one more boil. Take off stovetop and let the ingredients steep for a few minutes. Strain and serve.
*Traditionally, chai is boiled 3 times in a row (does not have to be cooled down in between boils) when using cow’s milk.
Assam Loose Leaf Black Tea
Unrefined Sugar Cane (Coconut Sugar is fine to use too)
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