One of India’s most beloved pick-me-ups, chai (spiced milk mixed with black tea) is becoming a mainstay in yoga communities around the world. Why? According to ayurveda, its unique mix of ingredients makes it a healthy alternative to coffee or plain tea. The cardamom and milk balance out the stimulating effects of caffeine and the ginger helps you digest the milk and sugar. On high heat bring 1 cup of water and a 1⁄2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and grated) to a boil. Then add:
Bring this mixture to a boil, remove the pot from the stove, and add a pinch of cardamom. Cover and let sit for several minutes. Strain and enjoy.
Speed up the process with two pots. Boil the milk and sugar in one pot, and the water, ginger, and black tea in another. Then combine and add the cardamom. (Don’t boil the ginger with the milk—that will cause your chai to curdle.)
For more exotic flavor, add a pinch of saffron with the sugar and a dash of rosewater with the cardamom, or a pinch each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg with the ginger, or a dash of vanilla extract with the cardamom. For caffeine-free chai, substitute dandelion root, peppermint leaves, or lemon grass for black tea.
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