Chai simply means tea in Hindi.
Masala Chai or spiced black tea with milk and sugar is a delicious ritual in almost every Indian household around the globe. Now the masala chai, officially called, ‘Chai tea’ has gained popularity everywhere in the world.
My father, who was an Ayurvedic physician, also trained in modern medicine, always suggested changes in the Chai spices according to the season.
Typical Chai is prepared with equal amount milk and water, boiled together with sugar and black tea. One can also boil water and black tea together and enjoy it steaming hot or add milk and sugar/ honey later, if desired to the hot tea.
In the Fall and Spring, our body is trying to adjust to the changing temperature, having coped with either a hot summer or a cool winter. So adding spices to your Chai like Ginger, Cardamom, Tulsi, etc. will strengthen the immune system. One will be less affected by the colds, coughs and allergies due to the budding bacterias and viruses.
1C organic milk/unsweetened almond or coconut milk
2t sugar (optional)
2t black tea or 2-3 black tea bags
Pinch of cardamom, a few fresh or ¼ tsp powdered Tulsi leaves
¼t dry ginger powder or 1/2t fresh, grated ginger
Pausing to sniff the tea aroma enhances the enjoyment as well as opens up the clogged nostrils!
Note: You can omit sugar or add honey after removing from the heat.
Weather in winter invites some warming spices like Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves to the Chai tea. One can also add fresh Lemon Grass, Lemon Grass essential oil or powder, and Tulsi. Lemon grass and Tulsi are antiviral, calming and support the respiratory system. Ginger can be used all year round as it supports the digestive and respiratory systems. So any time you have coughs, cold or fever you can add these spices to your tea and sip hot.
The basic recipe is the same as above. Replace the fall spices with warming winter spices like Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger. One can also add Tulsi or lemon grass.
Suggested Spice combination for the winter:
A pinch of Cinnamon powder, Cardamom powder (or one full pod), Clove powder (or 2-3 cloves) and ½t fresh Ginger (or ¼t Ginger powder), ¼t Tulsi powder or a few fresh leaves, a pinch of Lemon Grass powder/a blade of fresh Lemon Grass (or a drop of essential oil), ¼t Ginger powder or ½t fresh, grated Ginger.
Great when snowing/raining or for coughs and colds.
One can enjoy the Chai tea in the summer with cooling spices like Fennel (1/4t) and Mint (a few fresh leaves.)
If you enjoy coffee, then add a pinch of Nutmeg powder or Cardamom powder to your coffee while brewing. It will reduce the effects of caffeine.
Note: Excess consumption of Chai with warming spices can aggravate Pitta. Limit your Chai intake to one or two cups/day.
May you remain healthy in all the seasons …
Thank you and Namaste!
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