In India, chai means “tea” and there are as many versions using various spices as there are people preparing it! Customarily made with black tea, if you’re avoiding caffeine or are serving this to little ones, you can easily substitute with rooibos (or even peppermint or chamomile!). This recipe calls for honey, which from an Ayurvedic medicine perspective, helps to build the ojas (vitality) and strengthens the dhatus (tissues like blood, muscle, and bone). Sweet and spicy cardamom, pungent ginger, and antioxidant-rich cinnamon are all powerful carminatives that help to settle digestion and increase absorption. Along with clove, these herbs are prominent diaphoretics – induce sweating and restore circulation, dispelling fever and chills. In addition, these spices help promote the discharge of phlegm and mucus from the lungs and nasal passages.
4 c water
8 cardamom pods (or 1/4 tsp cardamom powder)
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper (or 1/4 tsp of whole peppercorns)
10 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1-inch grated ginger or 2 tsp ginger juice
2 tsp black tea (or 1 black tea bag)
2-4 c nut milk
Honey, to taste
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling on top
1 Crack cardamom pods and add to a medium pot, along with remaining spices. Add water.
2 Bring to boil, then turn down to medium and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
3 Add tea of choice and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the tea is brewed.
4 Strain. Return to pot, add milk, and stir over medium heat until hot. Add sweetener to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings
Make tea, strain, then let cool, and refrigerate in large mason jar until ready to use. To serve, reheat 1 c chai concentrate with 1⁄2 c of milk.