When you think of Chai tea, I bet you think of it as a fall or winter beverage. While it’s true that there’s nothing better than a cup of warm chai tea on a cold winter’s morning, this spicy beverage is one that can be enjoyed in any season. Also, it’s good for you!!
Traditional Chai Tea has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal “cure-all” drink. According to legend, a king created the blend in his quest to find more effective medicine for his people. Since then, Chai has been paired with things like Yoga and Meditation in order to promote natural healing of our bodies. It originated in India and Siam, and the word Chai is actually a generic term for tea in Hindi. (Mighty Leaf)
What makes Chai so amazing is its blend of herbs and spices. Now, the recipes will vary from blend to blend, but the baseline for Chai is essentially the same. Traditional Chai is a combination of black tea, cardamom, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and clove. You can create an assortment of flavors with this base by including other spices like nutmeg, vanilla bean, star anise, etc.
Each ingredient brings something to the table, and I want to touch on them briefly before we move on to recipes.
Black tea: Good cholesterol (LDL), antioxidants, caffeine.
Cardamom: Mood elevator, digestion aide, immune booster.
Fennel: Vitamin C, weight loss aide. (Fennel Tea Benefits)
Ginger: Digestion aide, improves circulation. (Ginger Tea Benefits)
Cinnamon: Anti-inflammatory, improves mental functions. (Cinnamon Tea Benefits)
Black Pepper: Supports metabolism and circulation.
Clove: Pain reliever, antibacterial properties.
Wow, Chai really is a cure-all!
Most chai teas can be found at your local health food or grocery store, but here is a simple recipe for vanilla chai in case you’d like to try it the more traditional way!
3 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
3 whole allspice
1 whole vanilla bean
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon black tea like Assum or Darjeeling
4 cups water
1 cup milk (try soy for a richer taste)
Boil all spices with water in a saucepan. Cover and let simmer for five minutes. Add milk and honey, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add tea. Let steep 3 minutes, and strain. Serve immediately.
How do you like your cup of Chai? Let me know!