This is THE BEST chai tea recipe from a favorite author of mine, Elizabeth Gilbert. I found her book "Eat, Pray, Love" at a crucial time in my own life, and it inspired me to get down to Business in addressing my emotional and spiritual needs. Six years later, after adopting a regular yoga and meditation practice, I'm embarking on the 200 hour teacher training program at my favorite studio, Yoga Loka in Frenchtown, NJ. And six years later, Ms. Gilbert's words still inspire and motivate me. Therefore, I'm sending a cosmic shout-out to her for her work as a "You Are Here" sign in the sprawling suburban mall of my life.
What does all that have to do with drinking tea? Technically, not a damn thing. But I would say that being grateful is part of a healthful existence, and science is beginning to back that statement up. If gratitude is a mind-tonic, consider this chai recipe the bodily equivalent. Once November hits, I begin regularly drinking versions of this chai, and (perhaps?) enjoy fewer colds because of it.
You can attribute today's recipe share to the fresh beautiful ginger I found at our local farmer's market. I am overwhelmed with the need to see ifI can grow it inside this winter. More chai for ME!
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BIG MAGIC CHAI RECIPE!
Dear Ones -
A friend of mine got really sick and run-down over the holidays (I know...weird, right?) so I cooked her up some of my homemade medicinal chai, which I do believe cures everything.*
I know it's unlikely that any of YOU are sick and run-down after the holidays, but just in case you need some hot and healing love in a cup, here's how I do it:
Bring 3 cups of water to boil.
3 Cinnamon sticks
1 to 2 inches of ginger, diced
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of whole black pepper
About 8 - 10 pods of cardamom, crushed.
Bring it all to a boil, let it simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Add 2 black tea bags. (If you like, you can throw a vanilla pod in there at this time, as well. If you want to go really nuts, throw a star anise in there, too. But be careful. Star anise is the beets of spices — it takes over EVERYTHING.)
Simmer again for about 5 minutes.
In the bottom of the biggest mug you've got, put a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a tablespoon of coconut oil.
Take a bit of the chai liquid, put in the mug, and whisk it until the honey, turmeric powder, and coconut oil are all blended.
(Alternatively, you can blend it all in a blender, but it works with a whisk nicely.)
Now fill your giant mug 3/4 of the way with hot strained chai liquid.
Heat up (or froth up) some milk or milk-like substance of your choice. (I go old school, like they do in India, and I always use cow's milk — but feel free to use whatever milk-like product you like.) Top off the mug with the hot milk, and stir.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Drink that mother down, preferably while reading a good novel.
WILL CURE ALL*
*Requisite legal disclosure from my Chai Attorney: Any claims that this product will "cure all" or "cure everything" are perhaps overblown. But Big Magic Chai will certainly do you no harm, and it make your house smell amazing while you cook it up, and without a doubt, it will make you feel loved! I am Liz Gilbert's Chai Attorney, and I approve this message.
BEAUTIFUL ARTWORK BY KATIE DAISY: www.katiedaisy.com
While traipsing through the Easton Farmer's Market this weekend (that's right, I said "traipse"), on the hunt for new and interesting types of garlic to plant, I happened upon this freshly harvested ginger root. It looks and smells pure and magnificent - the ginger equivalent of the new baby smell, but minus the diaper aroma. And it looks so alive, unlike the gnarled old rhizomes gracing the grocery store shelves. Something about it seems very plantable. I quickly grabbed a handful, planning on planting half my purchase.
Ginger is regularly used in my household in cooking, as well as in home remedies. It's normally associated with stomach upset and nausea relief, but is also used in treatment for the common cold due to it's reputed anti-inflammatory and cough-inhibiting characteristics. Ginger is the main ingredient in my favorite cold remedy drink, author Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic Chai". Or, it's the main ingredient when I make it. That recipe in itself is enough motivation for me to want to have harvestable fresh ginger whenever I want it!
Other natural remedies made with ginger, according to "Herb Companion" magazine:
As a tropical plant native to Southern Asia, ginger has a few basic needs:
A normal growing season for ginger would be ten months, but who has that kind of patience? I'm going to give it a few months and check to see if any of my guys are growing, and then harvest from the new outer growth while keeping the main growing rhizome planted. The ginger plant leaves can also be used as an aromatic in cooking broths and stuffings, the same way lemongrass would be treated.
Will this work? I have no idea. But for a couple bucks, and the possibility of oodles of fresh ginger, it's worth finding out. I'll report back on my highly scientific research project this winter. Thanks for reading!
I am Laura; lover of plants, fan of words, drinker of wine, practitioner of yoga, planner of schemes, and conductor of the family crazy train, Check here for gardening fun, harvest recipes, yoga philosophy, and whatever else I love to write about.