For several years now, I've prepared freshly-brewed masala chai every morning instead of coffee. I find that the rich tea, crushed spices and fresh ingredients start my morning off in a calm and soothing way.
I make a large batch in the winter months to drink throughout the day. If I have any left over, I'll put the tea in the fridge for the next day or I'll serve it to any guests that pop into my studio for a visit.
In the summer, I add a few ice cubes for cold chai tea. Here's the recipe:
4 cups of water
2 teaspoons of dark tea, such as Darjeeling or Ceylon
1/2 inch of crushed fresh ginger
(by stomping with flat side of a knife or 1/2 tablespoon of a ground ginger)
4 crushed cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
2 whole star anise pods
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick or a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 T brown sugar
Boil 4 cups of water and add the spices above. Once the spiced water has boiled, add 2 teaspoons of dark tea. Boil for 2 more minutes. Add 1/2 cup of whole milk or 1/3 of heavy cream and brown sugar to taste. Simmer on a low flame and strain into a teapot.
makes 5 servings
The spices and herbs I use in my chai tea each have their own important properties:
Ginger helps to improve digestion and protects against symptoms of colds and flu. It stimulates blood circulation-also reduces blood cholesterol. I have a potted ginger plant handy so I can always have ginger available.
Cinnamon can lower LDL cholesterol and has a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. It is also known for its anti fungal and antibacterial properties.
Cardamom is known to enhance appetite, improve digestion and provide relief from acidity in the stomach. I crush a few green cardamom seeds in herbal tea.
Cloves are considered a healing spice. They're known to heal ailments of the digestive system as well as help the metabolism.
Bay leaf- I add to soups, goulash, roast vegetable dishes, and to a bouquet garni to add flavor. I sometimes drop a few leaves in the pot of steamed jasmine rice.
Star Anise is the picturesque fruit of an evergreen tree native to northeast Vietnam and Southwest China. Star anise is used to help relieve cold symptoms.
You can add from black peppercorn to coriander seeds and add your favorite honey for sweetness. Enjoy, Irene Khin