When I wake up in the morning, the very first thing I do is make this Ginger Chai. I like all kinds of chai, but I start my day with a simple, clean Ginger Chai, with no spices.
I remember when my mom would make a huge pot of chai for my friends and me, early in the morning when we studied for Board Exams. A cup of warm, sweet, and spicey tea is such a good way to start the day! In my home, we also drink chai with chai masala — a blend of spices, and with fresh ginger and mint.
The ginger and warm milk in the chai both help reduce the effects of caffeine. If you are looking for a quick caffeine fix, this isn’t the drink for you. What this chai does is cleanse and strengthen your digestive system for whatever you will eat in the day. Read my post about ginger for more information.
When you have something so clean and comforting, don’t ruin it with processed sugars. Dark maple syrup sweetens my Ginger Chai with natural flavor, and you only need a little bit. When my husband and I lived in Upstate New York, we could meet the farmers from whom we bought our pure, organic syrup. We loved knowing how much care went into producing a great quality, organic dark maple syrup. It is important to buy the real stuff. Be sure not to cook the maple syrup in the chai, but add it later. If you can’t afford or find good maple syrup, an alternative is unrefined sugar.
We vary our Ginger Chai by adding chai masala, mint leaves, extra cardamom, or just whatever we are in the mood for on cool, rainy evenings! In our household, some folks like their chai dark, some like it milky, some like it spicey. You can change the amounts of ingredients and the time you steep the tea according to your tastes … it is more fun when every cup of tea is personal!
I also want to point out one of my favorite chai photographer (if there is such a term), Archana. I met her through Flickr, and she now even has a chai blog. I learn a great deal from Archana’s photos and they never cease to amaze me — just look at all the chai photos she has taken!
1.5 cups water
1 tablespoon freshly grated, peeled ginger root
1 teaspoon loose Indian black tea
1/4 cup organic milk (for a vegan substitute, use soy milk)
1 tablespoon pure, dark maple syrup
1. In a small sauce pan, boil water and ginger until roughly a half cup of water boils off.
2. Add the milk, loose black tea, and bring it to a boil again.
3. Turn the heat down, let it simmer for a minute or two or until you get a little color from the tea. This will be quick, so watch to make sure the chai doesn’t boil over! When ready, strain into a cup.
4. Stir in the maple syrup, and drink it hot!