A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine and I took a road trip. A longtime yogi, she brought a bag full of fresh, whole spices, a grinder, and a big jug of raw milk. We joked at how many bags we had packed, but it was well worth the effort when the next morning I awoke to the pungent smells of fresh ginger and ground cardamom. Her morning ritual involves an Indian practice of making “chai” from scratch -- which as you may know, means “tea.”
Here is a recipe from my new book, Healthy, Happy, Sexy - Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women, for creating your own fresh chai.
14 grams of ginger (powdered or fresh)
16 grams cardamom (you can use the powdered version, or even better, fresh pods that you can crush with a mortar and pestle)
20 grams cinnamon (powdered, or a couple of fresh sticks)
4 grams fennel seeds
4 grams coriander (powdered)
2 grams nutmeg (whole or powdered)
2 grams whole cloves
14 grams of black tea (whole leaves best, or use regular bagged tea)
Couple of pinches of black pepper
Sweetener to taste, ideally coconut nectar, Sucanat or honey
1/2 gallon whole milk for the real Indian chai experience, but milk substitutes like oat milk or soy milk work fine
Slow boil (decoct) all of the herbs in a medium to large pot in 10 cups water (do not add the tea yet). Boil this mixture down to about 8 cups of liquid. Turn off the heat and add black tea. Stir, cover the pot and let sit for no more than 10 minutes (any more than that and the tea will become bitter). Strain all of the tea and herbs with a fine strainer, and add the 1/2 gallon of whole milk to the remaining mixture. Heat again until the new mixture becomes hot, but not boiling. For perfection, add a tiny sprinkling of nutmeg to each cup of tea.
Katie Silcox is the author of "Healthy, Happy, Sexy - Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women." She's a vinyasa yoga teacher, Ayurvedic practitioner, contributor to Yoga Journal, and a senior teacher within the Sri-Vidya ParaYoga lineage under Yogarupa Rod Stryker.
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