Morning Chai


Fresh ginger root and Japanese grater

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.

Ingredients:

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)

  1. In a medium pan, grate the ginger and add the water.
  2. Place on the stove on medium heat.
  3. In a mortar, crush the cardamom pods and add to pan. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer at medium-low heat.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the tea to the pan, and reduce to low heat. Let simmer and infuse for about 5 minutes.
  6. Finally, add the milk-saffron mixture to the pot, and let it heat up until a slight boil to the edges of the pan.
  7. 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.

Spice Properties:

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!

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