MASALA CHAI, UPGRADED
Last year, I travelled throughout India for six weeks with my best friend. It was an incredible adventure with lots of wild memories that I'll never forget.
Of course, some of my favourite memories involved the cuisine. From simple to complex, and sweet to savoury, we tried a little of a lot of things. The best butter chicken in Udaipur, saffron foam in the streets of Varinasi, and gulab jamun (a traditional Indian dessert) wherever we went. But my favourite taste experience, by far, was the incredible Indian chai tea found in what felt like every nook and cranny of this magical country. Whether in a major city, rural village, or in the middle of the Thar Desert, for just pennies a cup, we enjoyed the most delicious tea, which will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Shortly after returning from my travels, I began making chai on the stovetop, as they do in India, but with coconut milk instead of dairy. To make this drink even more special, I added tocos, which is comprised of rice bran granules and are a rich source of vitamins E and D. Tocos is wonderfully supportive of healthy skin. I also added collagen (both as a gut healer and for tissue repair) and reishi mushroom, which is powerful for boosting immunity.
MAKES 1 SERVING
3/4 cup water
4 whole green cardamom pods, smashed
1 1-inch piece sliced fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece of star anise
3/4 c. coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp. loose black tea leaves
2 tsp. tocos, I like this brand
1 tbsp. collagen
1/8-1/4 tsp. reishi spores, optional
maple syrup, to taste
1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon stick and star anise. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the mixture is fragrant.
2. Add the milk and tea leaves, and simmer for another few minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and let steep for 2 minutes.
4. Pour into a cup through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the leaves and spices.
5. For the upgraded version, add the liquid to a small high-powered blender. Add the tocos, collagen, and reishi powder. Add maple syrup to taste.
6. Whiz until well combined. The collagen will add a lovely frothiness.
Note: This is the masala chai that I like to enjoy, but by no means do you need to add tocos, collagen, and/or reishi to reap the health benefits of this ancient, delicious tea.
The culinary spices found in chai are some of the best for aiding in digestion. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties, and cinnamon can assist with blood sugar regulation.