Warming Winter Chai
Makes 4 cups With a fragrance that is sweet, woody and spicy, cinnamon has a long history of use in desserts and warm drinks, such as chai. Make homemade chai and add your own unique twist by experimenting to find the perfect blend. Here is a basic chai combination to get you started. Other variations include star anise, fennel seeds and vanilla beans.
• 2 cinnamon sticks • 8 green cardamom pods, gently cracked • 6 cloves • 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 small piece (5cm) fresh ginger, sliced • 4 black peppercorns • 4 teabags – English breakfast, Darjeeling, Earl Grey or black tea of your choice • 6-8 tsp natural sweetener or stevia leaves to taste (see note) • 2 cups milk of your choice
1. Put 2 cups of water in a heavy-based saucepan and add all ingredients except milk and sweetener. 2. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. 3. Add milk and warm it gently but do not let it boil. 4. Add sweetener and strain into cups, mugs or glasses to serve. Enjoy your cup of chai tea sitting by the fireplace with a soft blanket and candles burning or outside while soaking up the sunshine for a moment of winter rejuvenation.
Note: If you want to obtain the many wondrous health benefits of cinnamon, it is best to avoid adding refined sugar. For a sweeter chai, I recommend adding natural sweeteners such as stevia, natural sugar alcohols (maltitol and erythritol) or rapadura.