In the cooler months of the year, this warm and comforting spiced chai is what I start my mornings with. We also whip it up when an unwelcome cold or flu pays a visit! Skip the tea leaves for kids.
Why it’s good for you
The warming spices used here have scientifically-proven benefits. Gingerol from ginger reduces mucous production in the nasal passage and fights inflammation. Cardamom has antibacterial powers and star anise contains shikimic acid, which is the active ingredient of the world’s most successful anti-viral drug, Tamiflu! Cinnamon has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, while black pepper kills nasty bacteria and lowers inflammation. Finally, cloves contain eugenol, which reduces blood clotting, and aids in the relief of a sore throat. If only all our medications tasted this good!
Since this recipe was published in the cookbook, I have created a few variations with delicious results that I am sharing here (marked optional). If you like more intensity in your chai, use the spice amounts suggested in the higher range. I hope you enjoy!
- 2 cups water
- ½ – 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
- 4-8 cardamom pods, gently crushed to expose seeds
- 1-2 star anise pods
- 2 inch long pieces of cinnamon bark (preferably Ceylon)
- 2-4 black peppercorns
- 2-4 whole cloves
- Small pinch saffron (optional but also a mood booster)
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional but great for digestion)
- 2-3 teaspoons loose, black tea leaves or English Breakfast tea bags, depending on how strong you like your tea (skip for kids)
- 2-3 teaspoon rose petals (optional but a beautiful mood booster)
- 2 cups milk of choice (cow’s, soy or nut milks work but soy is the creamiest in my experience, use non GMO organic soy)
- Sweetener of choice, if using (sugar, maple or date syrup or honey)
Grind the ginger, cardamom, anise pods, cinnamon barks, peppercorns and whole cloves roughly in a mortar.
In a medium sized pot, bring the water, and spices from the mortar to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add the tea leaves or bag and rose petals and simmer for 3 minutes. For a stronger brew, rest the tea off the heat for another 2 minutes.
Add a milk of your choice.
Strain into your favorite mug, sweeten if you like, and enjoy.