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Chai Time

Chai tea warms you up from the inside out.

By Kaitlin Quistgaard

To get toasty on a chilly day, start from the inside out, with warm, well-spiced food and drink that stoke your agni, or digestive fire. Beth Baker, a personal chef and the principal cook at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, often makes gallons of this decadent chai to warm up meditators on silent retreat.

To make an agni-enhancing herbal version you can sip all day, follow steps 1 and 2, reheat, and strain, adding extra hot water as necessary. For a rich and heavenly pick-me-up, follow steps 3, 4, and 5 to add the milk (dairy or non), black tea, and sweetener.

  1. To make 1 quart of chai, grind in a spice grinder:
    • 11⁄2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 3 tablespoons fresh cardamom pods
  2. Bring to a boil, then let sit overnight:
    • 2 cups water
    • 1⁄3 cup ginger, finely chopped
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • the ground cardamom and coriander
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 cloves
    • 1 dash allspice
    • 3⁄4 teaspoon licorice root (optional)
  3. Add 3 cups of milk and carefully bring to a low boil, stirring continuously so as not to scorch it.
  4. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons good-quality black tea and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Strain and sweeten to taste with 2 to 31⁄2 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or sugar.
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Reader Comments


To Samantha:
If you can only get ground coriander seeds and cardamom, simply double the amount.
It is essential for this recipe that you have fresh chopped ginger, it will be very different if you try to use ground ginger (but you could experiment with it anyway).
If you don't have whole peppercorns, put in about half of the amount in ground pepper.
1 cinnamon stick = about 1tsp of ground cinnamon
3 cloves = about 3/8 tsp ground cloves
And licorice root mostly adds sweetness, so don't worry if you can't find any.

This is just my own approximation. Feel free to play around with this recipe, you really can't mess it up. If you like cloves a lot and aren't so into ginger, then add more cloves and less ginger. Have fun!


it wont save to mine either.


This sounds amazingly good. I only have one question: I have most of these ingredients and can easily get my hands on the rest, but some of them are ground/granulated. Would the quantities remain the same? If not, how should I adjust them?

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