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February 07, 2007

Chai Spice

There's been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about trying to avoid the February blahs. While I usually suffer from this seasonal affliction, I've been surprisingly chipper lately.
Today was an exception though. The weather has been drizzly for the past few days and everyone here is fighting a cold; combine those two things and you've got a bunch of house-bound, cranky people.
I've found that one of the best cures for a day like today is a soothing mug of creamy chai. The delightful smell of the mixture simmering away on the stove lifts the spirits, and the warming spices that it contains are said to enhance immune activity, which is perfect for anyone fighting a bug. At the very least they're extremely comforting on a cold, rainy day.

I've been making this chai for years, and my husband loves it so much that he won't order chai when he's out because he never likes it as much (you can see why I keep him around!). Store bought chai mixes can be ridiculously expensive, which seems crazy when you realize that a whole pot of the stuff can be had for mere pennies.
When making this recipe, make sure your spices are really fresh or it won't be as tasty.

Chai (makes 2 small cups but can be doubled for two mugs):

  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or use a whole cinnamon stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cardamon seeds or 1 heaping tablespoon cardamon pods (I have pods pictured above, but I prefer the seeds because they add more flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground (optional)
  • 2/3 cup milk (I actually prefer soy, as I think it adds a creamier flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (can use sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon loose black tea (or 2 average size tea bags)
Bring water and spices to a boil and simmer (covered) for 10 minutes (if using cardamon pods, you may want to crush them with your spoon to expose the seeds). Add milk and honey; return to the boil. Remove chai from heat and add the tea. Cover and steep for two minutes.
Strain into cups.

When the kids were little, I would just pour theirs off before adding the tea. They prefer it full strength these days.
In addition to our afternoon dose of chai, we had a yummy curried squash soup for dinner. Hopefully all of those spices will chase away the flu bugs that are threatening to take hold.

8 comments:

Ali said...

Thanks for sharing that recipe!

Chelee said...

We've been having grey and drizzle and even though I've been trying to not catch the boy's cold, it's finally set in. The girl has it now too.

Chai sounds like the perfect antidote!

BTW
I have the same spice containers with the same label on the front.

heather said...

Lovely photos, as usual. I will be trying this. I do cheat and make my own "mix" with ground spices, powdered milk, and sucanat. It is very good but not the real thing, and does not make the whole house smell like chai, sad.

Steffi said...

Thank you for the recipe.Your pictures are very beautiful!

Bye,Steffi

BurdockBoy said...

It's amazing how the aromas and flavours of the spices found in chai can make one feel better. I still make a pumpkin pies throughout the winter to bring the scents into the air and the tastes to my belly. Delicious.

Cheryl said...

Ali - My pleasure!

Chelee - I hope you're all feeling better. We're slowly on the mend.
These similarities are starting to freak me out! :D

Heather - I would be interested in hearing more about your mix. Sometimes I feel like a treat but don't want to take the time.
I hope you enjoy this one!

Steffi - You're welcome, and thanks!

Burdockboy - Mmm, there's nothing better than pumpkin pie, in my book!

Eco-lovely said...

That recipe is delicious! I hope you do not mind that I gave you a shout out on my blog with a colpy of the recipe. I have been visiting your blog by way of my obsession with a simpler life. Thanks for the inspiration.
Danielle

Heather said...

I've been wanting to make a big batch of chai with a friend and this recipe sounds like just the thing. Thank you.

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