Winter is the BEST time to make chai. In addition to being warm and delicious the spices each have their own important medicinal properties to contribute.
All of the spices being used are powerful antioxidants. The turmeric adds anti-inflammatory, liver support. The sweet spices provide additional digestive ease as well as balancing the flavor. The fat in the coconut milk improves absorption of the active constituents in the turmeric (as does the ground pepper, so don’t skip the pepper!).
Although I usually try to minimize the use of sweeteners, the taste of this tea is vastly improved with the addition of honey. To be extra careful about sugar, use the licorice root as an alternative in order to eliminate or reduce the honey.
The quickest way to make the chai is to use the dry spice option, but if you have a few more minutes and access to the fresh herbs, there’s a worthwhile additional taste bonus!
3 heaping teaspoons powdered turmeric OR 6 (inch-long) pieces of fresh root, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
2 tsp cardamom (freshly ground is amazing)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger OR 4 tsp chopped fresh ginger)
¼ tsp ground pepper
3 pints (6 cups) filtered water
honey to taste OR 2 tsp licorice root simmered an extra 10 minutes before adding sweet spices
coconut milk to taste (be liberal!)
Bring water to boil, then add dry spices. Turn down and simmer for 10 minutes
if using fresh herbs (ginger, turmeric) simmer the chopped roots for 10 minutes. Include the licorice root if you are using that for added sweetness. Then add the remaining dry spices and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Strain.
Add honey, stir to melt, then add coconut milk to taste.