I recently savored a warming, soothing cup of Masala Chai, an essential within India's vibrant culture, across the Oceans, in my very own kitchen.
It was my first attempt at making Chai and I was delightfully surprised at how simple it was. What was even more surprising was the instantaneous nostalgia the smell of the blended spices & creamy milk induced. I was brought back to the wooden benches inside the dark, dingy and oh so perfect Chai Shop in Patnem. I was reminded of the many chaiwallah characters I met, old and young, among streets big and small, throughout the country. Most notably the sadhus with dreadlocks and colorful tilakas proudly serving chai along the banks of the Ganga.
Masala Chai (masala meaning 'mixed spice' and chai meaning 'tea') has been a part of Indian diet and tradition for thousands of years. It is considered a healing beverage in Ayurvedic medicine and has been consumed since the beginning of the Vedic period. The beauty of chai is that you will never taste the same cup twice. A real cup of chai will always be freshly brewed (most often without the use of a recipe) and use only natural spices. A true cup of chai will satisfy not only the senses, but the soul. You will be able to taste each spice individually and feel the invigorating yet calming energy the blend provides.
The health benefits of Chai are considered ‘Sattvic’ as they are revitalizing and help to clear the mind & calm the spirit. The spices aid digestion, breathing and circulation of blood.
So go ahead, treat yourself and your loved ones to a satisfying and Sattvic fusion...
What you'll need:
2 cups water
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 cups milk
2 tbsp. raw sugar
2 tbsp. loose black tea
How to create:
In a small saucepan, bring water, ginger, pepper, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon to a boil. Add the milk and sugar to the pan and bring to a boil once again. The longer the milk and spices cook together, the better the flavor.
Remove pan from heat and add the loose black tea. Cover and let steep for at least 3 minutes (or longer, if you prefer a stronger brew). Strain the mixture into a teapot or directly into teacups and enjoy!
Feel free to experiment with this simple recipe by adjusting the ratio of spices, or using alternative sweeteners (honey, jaggery, palm sugar) to enhance the qualities you like best in your tea.
LAUREN LEE is passionate about holistic health, exploring the world and empowering others to live vibrant and happy lives. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated yogini and sun seeker, she lives for creating connection and enjoying simple pleasures.