Tracey's Simply Subtle Chai
Chai is an exotic twist on English tea and a fabulous drink that is perfect for taking the chill off the season with its aromatic spices and scents. I love the ritual of making my own chai in the cold, early mornings of fall and winter, or sans caffeine, as a dessert savored while sitting by the fire in the evenings.
In many Indian dialects the word chai actually means tea, and is a creative fusion of East meets West with its European milk and sweetness blended with the Spice Routes allure of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and ginger. Whoever would have thought that chai would become an American household word and seen on just about every menu east and west of the Mississippi. Of course, whoever knew that yoga for that matter would have taken the West by storm so much so that it is now influencing its motherland, India, to take up the practice in vast numbers!
My recipe is made with Eden Blend, organic rice-soy milk which I choose for the richness and the balance of the blend, but you are welcome to follow tradition using dairy milk, or any type of milk you prefer. You are also free to add or detract spices to your taste. This is the beauty and fun of preparing this homemade elixir. Much like my yoga teaching, I encourage you to be intuitive and creative in your preparation of this wonderful drink. There are numerous ways of making chai. In fact, there is another very simple recipe that I also adore using mostly fennel seeds and cardamom for its spice, very subtle and delicious.
With love and warmth, Tracey
1 32oz. carton Eden Blend organic rice-soy milk
3-4 cups filtered water
freshly ground black pepper (optional, but traditional)
agave nectar syrup (or honey)
black tea (optional, but traditional)
In a medium sized pot add milk and water and begin to simmer over medium-low heat along with
2 heaping Tbs. peeled and freshly grated ginger.
Lower heat and add (after crushing) the following spices. Be liberal or judicious according to taste.
1.5-2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
4-6 cardamom pods
A grind or two of fresh black pepper (optional)
Lower heat and simmer chai gently for 10 -20 minutes. Sometimes milk develops a skin in the heating process, simply ladle it off.
Turn off heat and add agave syrup (or honey) to taste.
If you are choosing the caffeinated version:
Steep 2-3 bags of a good quality black tea in the chai mixture for 5 minutes.
Remove tea bags and strain chai as you pour into cups to serve.