I have been feeling a bit under the weather during the last few weeks, probably because it is freezing here in London and I miss the Sun! I find spices are a great remedy to get my energy levels up, and awaken my senses after a dull winter…Here is a Masala Chai recipe inspired by Indian cooking, for a deliciously spicy warm drink. I used four different spices providing a variety of health benefits:
– Ginger: I love ginger, I drink a lot of lemon/ginger water during the cold days when I start to feel fluey, and I use it in all kinds of dishes. It really boosts the immune system and helps the body to warm up. When I was pregnant, I packed up on ginger tea and ginger biscuits to get rid of morning sickness and nausea, and it did help. It is also said stimulate digestion, to eliminate gas, and to soothe arthritis.
– Cinnamon: Another one of my favourite spices! At the moment I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over everything: porridge in the morning, apple tart, yoghurt, even savoury dishes like meatballs and chili con carne. I just love the subtle sweetness of it. Cinnamon is also known to help digestion and boost the immune system, and it is a great way to appease my sweet tooth and avoid having too much sugar.
– Nutmeg: A rich, hearty spice that has many healing properties, in particular helping with anxiety and insomnia, and with stomach issues: indigestion, vomiting…It is also said to improve male fertility. It should be used with moderation though. Some Chai recipes recommend to use star anise instead, which is great for flu and has a delicious oriental flavour, but I didn’t have any.
– Cardamom: I am a bit less familiar with cardamom, although I have been using more recently as I’m trying out Asian recipes. I like the depth of flavour it adds, and it is a wonderfully versatile spice: I tasted a cardamom ice cream recently that was simply divine. You can use ground cardamom for this recipe, but I prefer to use pods which I infuse in the warm milk and then remove, because the taste can can overpowering.
-Cloves: They have a very strong, aromatic taste, and are widely used across Asia. It is a great anti-inflammatory: I have been told to use it for toothache, and helps to eliminate bacteria and fungi. It also provides relief for respiratory issues and asthma.
My recipe for two cups of Chai Latte:
– 2 cups of milk
– A big teaspoon of loose black tea
– 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger (you can use a small piece of fresh ginger instead)
– 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
– 2 cardamom pods
– 3-4 cloves
– Brown sugar to taste
Basically, just mix the milk, tea and spices into a small pot and place on low fire, making sure the milk doesn’t boil. Once hot, remove from the fire and leave to cool down for a few minutes, for the spices to gently infuse the milk. Sieve to remove the tea leaves, cardamon pods and cloves, add a bit of honey to taste, and serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon.