Here is our famous chai (tea) recipe, enjoyed by hundreds of people at our yoga and meditation programs. Chai is a delicious creamy blend of tea, milk and spices that warms the body and stimulates digestion. It is traditionally drunk in India instead of the morning cup of coffee. This recipe uses rooibos tea, which is caffeine free and rich in antioxidants, as well spices, each with their own unique healing properties. Chai is sweetened to bring out the exotic flavours of the spices. This is a recipe for two cups of chai, but at home, we find it more convenient to make a big batch of the tea and spice mixture so it’s quick and easy to brew a fresh batch of chai every morning.
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1 clove
- ½ star anise
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 black peppercorn
- ½ bay leaf
- 1 cup water
- 1 rooibos tea bag
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup organic cow’s milk
- Sugar or honey to sweeten
Use a mortar and pestle or blend spices in a spice mill until they are coarsely crushed, not powdered.
Place water, rooibos tea and spices in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.
Lower the temperature, add the milk and fresh ginger and slowly heat them.
When steam rises, turn the heat off and cover, allow to steep for 10-15 min.
Strain and sweeten to taste.
Chai Tea Mix
In this mix, we process all the ingredients in a blender individually, adding them to a large bowl as they’re processed. It’s a nice activity to do with your kids. Many hands make light work and besides being educational, everything smells so good!
- 200 g rooibos tea
- 200 g cassia bark or cinnamon quills
- 100 g star anise
- 100g green cardamom pods
- 30 g cloves
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
- 10 – 15 pieces licorice root
- 5-6 bay leaves
Take a large mixing bowl and pour in your rooibos tea. If it came in tea bags, open each tea bag individually and pour the contents into your bowl.
Place the cassia or cinnamon into the blender and process until most pieces are about 1 – 2 cm. Pour into your mixing bowl.
Process the star anise to about the same size.
The green cardamom pods only need enough pulsing to crack open the pods.
Cloves and black pepper only get one pulse each. Too many and the tea will have a strong biting flavor.
Licorice root can have 4-5 pulses, it will shred slightly and you may need to finish pulling it apart by hand.
Tear the bay leaves into small pieces by hand.
Use a mixing spoon and mix your chai batch until all the ingredients are well blended.
Store in an airtight container and use one heaped teaspoon per cup of liquid.
Don’t forget to add fresh grated ginger when you add milk.
Note: When you purchase ginger you’ll start to notice the variety at different times of the year. Fresh new ginger has very thin skin and is a light creamy yellow to pink colour with plump rhizomes. As ginger ages, the skin becomes thicker and glossy and inside it is bright yellow. The taste becomes stronger and more pungent. When ginger is very old, it shrivels and has the strongest taste of all. A word of warning, very young ginger can curdle your chai so use with caution early in the season.
Some Health Benefits of Chai Spices
Black Pepper: According to Ayurveda, black pepper is one of the most powerful digestive stimulants, it cleanses the alimentary canal and energizes the digestive fire to destroy toxins and digest food.
Cardamom: Cardamom is called the queen of spices and has long been used as a simple breath freshener. Cardamom is known to be particularly good for soothing the flow of energy in the body. It is reputed to stimulate the mind and heart and give clarity. When added to milk, cardamom is said to neutralize milk’s mucus forming properties and also detoxify caffeine in coffee. Cardamom can help soothe children’s nervous digestive upsets and combines well with fennel. It may assist to stop vomiting, belching or acid regurgitation.
Cinnamon: Like ginger, cinnamon is considered an almost universal medicine. It is used to strengthen and harmonize the flow of circulation. It is also a good diaphoretic and expectorant in colds and flus, and is especially good for those of weak constitution. A gently warming spice, it relieves pain, strengthens the heart, warms the kidneys and promotes good digestion.
Cloves: Used as a natural toothache remedy for centuries, cloves are also an effective stimulant and aromatic for the lungs and stomach, helping to dispel chill and disinfect the lymphatic system.
Ginger: Ginger is called the universal medicine and has the reputation of being the best of spices. It is most commonly used to relieve digestive and respiratory diseases. It relieves gas and cramps in the abdomen, including menstrual cramps due to cold. It is also good in arthritic conditions and it is a tonic to the heart.
Licorice: Licorice helps to liquefy mucus in the lungs and facilitate its discharge from the body. For colds and respiratory problems, it combines especially well with fresh ginger. When used with ginger and cardamom it is a tonic for the teeth. Licorice is also a mild laxative and soothes and tones the mucous membranes, relieving muscle spasms and reducing inflammation. It is considered a restorative and rejuvenative food, calming the mind and having a nurturing effect on the body. Licorice is said to nourish the brain and increase cranial and cerebrospinal fluid. It improves voice, vision, hair and complexion and gives strength. It is almost universally used in every packet of traditional Chinese herbal medicine because its taste is said to mask the disagreeable flavor of other herbs while helping to harmonize their qualities.
Star Anise: Star Anise has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic cooking and medicine for centuries. It is a major component of both garam masala and five spice powder. It freshens the breath and is often used in cough medicine. It is soothing to the stomach and aids digestion and is also said to be therapeutic in the treatment of rheumatism. Star anise smells deliciously like sarsaparilla. Star anise used for cooking is always the Chinese variety. Japanese star anise is toxic when consumed and is only burned as incense.
While we have found the information contained on our website to be beneficial in our pursuit of a healthy balanced life, the content is in no way intended to replace medical advice. Please always seek appropriate medical advice for your particular situation.