Back in March I attended a lecture by Blair Lewis – his teaching is always delightful and full of great information – at Tsada Yoga where he shared with us a simple chai recipe to start off the day with a focused, calm though energized, mind and body, and an elevated mood. This chai has become since my favorite morning ritual upon rising – that I’m looking forward to every day, and my taste buds are craving it!
Most recipes for spiced chai that I had used before, included a blend of several spices that slightly change depending on the Ayurvedic season to match the Dosha needs accordingly. This one strikes by its simplicity, a delicate though tasty flavor, and fits all three doshas balancing out its healing properties with the use of just three spices: ginger, cardamom and saffron.
Yields about 2 cups
½ to 1 inch of freshly grated ginger
7 – 8 green cardamom pods
2 – 3 threads of saffron
1 pinch of cinnamon (optional, in Fall-Winter season)
1 ½ tbsp of black tea
2 tsp of brown sugar* (can be replaced by coconut sugar, xylitol sweetener or powdered stevia)
2 cups of water
1 cup of organic milk (preferably non homogenized)
- In a medium pan, grate the ginger and add the water.
- Place on the stove on medium heat.
- In a mortar, crush the cardamom pods and add to pan. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer at medium-low heat.
- In the mortar, grind the saffron threads with the sugar until saffron is finely mixed in with the sugar. Add the milk to the mixture, and let it sit.
- Add the tea to the pan, and reduce to low heat. Let simmer and infuse for about 5 minutes.
- Finally, add the milk-saffron mixture to the pot, and let it heat up until a slight boil to the edges of the pan.
- Turn the stove off, filter the chai with a strainer into a teapot or directly in a mug. Add honey or sugar if needed…
*If you are like me, and you don’t like tea too sweet, just use 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar – or alternative powdered sweetener – to grind the saffron, and add some raw honey to the served cup of chai. Do NOT cook the honey.
Ginger – helps process and digest the milk; moreover research has shown it has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral therapeutic properties.
Cardamom – is also a digestive aid, and has shown to be an analgesic and anti-spasmodic, additionally to being used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat depression as a mood enhancer!
Saffron – Also traditionally used in Ayurveda as a treatment for depression. As a mood enhancer for a calmer, clearer and more focused mind, it’s the perfect ally for meditation.
Preparing chai every morning for me and my beloved one(s), has become a ritual for me, and as part of my yoga practice it keeps bringing me joy and serenity to start off my day with a flavorful, calm and bright perspective.
May you enjoy it too!