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Recipe: My Favorite Masala Chai Tea

 

This is a masala style of chai, based upon traditional Indian recipes and containing spices, black tea leaves, milk, and lightly sweetened with honey. It's absolutely perfect for special occasions, sharing with friends and family, or when the winter is a little cold or stormy and you want something that will warm you to the core. I often alter the recipe slightly, depending on what ingredients I have on hand and what my needs are at the time. For example, if I've been feeling stressed or have been overexerting myself and feel worn out, then I might add supportive herbs like milky oats or an adaptogen like eleuthero. If I need something calming or have been feeling anxious, then I may add kava kava or ashwagandha.

Many of us may not be aware of this, but traditional chai tea has been linked to a variety of health benefits. Some of the spices in masala chai have been shown to be beneficial for the heart, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, blood sugar levels, nausea, and digestion. So, not only is it totally delicious, but chai is also really good for the body & mind!

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices fresh ginger root
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 10 whole green cardamom pods
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 TBSP unflavored loose-leaf black tea (or rooibos for a caffeine-free version)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk or milk substitute
  • honey or other sweetener (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Lightly crush the spices with a mortar and pestle.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then add the spices. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add milk or milk alternative to the pot and heat until hot, being careful not to scald it. Once hot, remove from burner.
  4. Add the loose-leaf tea and allow to infuse for several minutes.
  5. Strain out the spices and tea using a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
  6. Stir in vanilla and honey/sweetener to taste.
  7. Pour into cups and enjoy!

Feel free to make adaptations to this recipe, it will still be totally delicious! You can add more spices to make it spicier or less for a mellower brew, you can include nourishing or adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, turmeric, or milky oats, or other traditional masala chai spices like nutmeg, star anise, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds.

If you have extra tea, it may be stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Simply stir and reheat whenever you'd like another delicious cup!

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