How to Make Easy and Really, Really Yummy Chai

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Why am I blogging about chai in the springtime when everybody knows chai is a fall drink, you might ask? Well, for 4 simple reasons: 

  1. I love chai year round! Yup, can’t get enough. 
  2. Many of the herbs in chai tea are great immune system boosters. Spring comes with rapidly changing temperatures, inspiring people to dress unseasonably, which can lead to colds and flus. If you want to enjoy both health and your spring wardrobe--even a little early--chai is a great recipe to have at the ready. 
  3. You might be in the midst of a spring cleanse right now (it’s quite common; we all want to clean out the gunk we’ve been eating all winter during our mini hibernation), and this cleanse might include food and drink wouldn’t eat normally, such as cold or raw produce. Chai provides a healthy balance for these foods, with warming herbs that will soothe your tummy after the cold foods found in most cleanses. Chai is perfectly acceptable in most cleanses, considering it is just a hodgepodge of herbs! 
  4. Truth be told--I can be a slight perfectionist (Type  B ½ as one patient so eloquently put it) and I began working on chai recipes in late February but I just wasn’t happy with how they turned out. Now that I’ve nailed it, I couldn’t resist sharing with you, even though it’s a little out of season.
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So, let’s get started. The recipe is simple, and oh-so healthy. AND, in order for it to make an appearance on this blog, you know there has to be some connection to Chinese medicine! (I can’t help it.) Below my recipe is the list of ingredients with their uses in both Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and in Western medicine, as well as some notes on my measuring system.

Ready? The process has been boiled down (pun intended) and made super simple because let’s face it, we all have busy lives.

Ingredients:

•  5 Cinnamon sticks
•  A sprinkle of cardamom
•  A generous sprinkle of nutmeg
•  A sprinkle of allspice
• 10 slices fresh ginger
•  2 star-anise, broken into pods
•  6 whole cloves
•  4 slices fresh turmeric
•  6 peppercorns
•  5 tea bags ( I used black tea- PG tips) 

Preparation: 

• Bring 5 cups of water to boil in a large saucepan. 
• Once boiling, add 6 cloves and allow to cook for 2 minutes
• Add the rest of the ingredients except the tea; reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. 
• Turn off the heat, add in the tea and let steep for 2 minutes. 
• Strain ingredients

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Optional serving suggestion: 

My favorite way to have this Chai is to take 3 parts tea, 1 part milk. Coconut milk, almond milk, or cow’s milk all taste great in my book. 

I also like adding a tsp of maple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract.*

* If you are cleansing you may want to omit these suggestions, I tried my batch just for you and still liked it plain!

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There you have it, my version of a perfect chai. I love sitting with my journal in the morning and sipping my chai. It tastes just like a chai latte you’d purchase without all the added sugars and preservatives (and for far less money).  I have found that while making many different versions of chai this winter, my preference is for a more subtle flavor. If you want it to be stronger, you can reduce the amount of water used from 5 to 4 cups and measure the herbs generously. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Happy springtime, everyone!

 
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