This post is for all the tea lovers….and the soon to-be tea lovers. Chai in India is part of our regular lives, a necessity. I guess we Indians consume more tea than any other. I definitely need a cup of tea every evening…And back home, we used to have it in the mornings too…. This was the old simple chai with just tea leaves, sugar and milk, boiled to perfection….
Moving away from home for studies, and then employment, other drinks moved in…coffee..cappuccino..iced lattes and what not. Chai became a once-in-a while beverage from those chai wallas in the streets (Doesn’t everything taste better from those street stalls?), or those Kerala restaurants that served us breakfast during our weekends.
Until Monica introduced me to Masala chai/ spiced tea. Exactly 10 years ago…. Thank you Monica for that introduction, and from then on, Tea made a huge comeback and has stayed with me. She used to have this big Dabba box with all types of spices, that she carefully picked and added into the tea concoction. Masala Chai, after a point, became breakfast, with a fresh packet of Parle G biscuits every morning…a fond memory of those carefree days…
I’ve introduced this wonder chai to my family, and husbands family, and they all have never gone back to the old simple chai with just tea leaves sugar and milk…
Now, there’s no authentic recipe for Masala chai. I think every home has a different version of Masala chai, and the same applies here too. When I wanted to write this post, I thought I’ll do some research as well, on the medicinal properties of tea, and the different additives/ spices that can used for overall health and also to treat specific illnesses and diseases.
So here it goes….The knowledge I share is only based on my limited research.
Yes, this aromatic drink, with the fragrance from cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and the other spices has therapeutic and health benefits too
Chai means ‘Life’ in Hebrew. Ayurveda also mentions chai under ‘rasayana’ which means the path to life’s essence…However, before that we can just look into our constitution..
An individual’s constitution is made up of the 5 elements. fire, earth, water, air and ether (space/ Akasha) also jointly called as ‘Prakruti’. One can determine one’s constitution according to the three doshas in Ayurvedic medicine. These are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, jointly knows as ‘Vikruti’.
Your chai recipe can be altered according to your constitution or the doshas. Here’s a simple guide on finding your doshas, which is very basic. You can always consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to get exact results..
Vata: Air & Ether/ Space/ Akasha(affects windy humour, flatulence, gout, rheumatism, etc)
- You feel cold all the time
- You have digestive issues like gas, bloating and/or constipation
- You have restless or disturbed sleep
- Extra sensitive, High anxiety, worry and fear
- Dry and rough hands, skin and hair
- Menstrual irregularities
Pitta: Fire & Water (bilious humour that affects digestion)
- You have redness in skin and often feel hot
- You have heart burn or feel acidic
- You tend to have soft or loose stool
- Excessive anger, hurt, criticism, egotism
- Fatigue, dizziness, vertigo
Kapha: Water & Earth (relates to mucus, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients)
- You feel lethargic and heavy
- You have a slow metabolism
- You tend to oversleep
- High cholesterol and blood pressure
- Slow, dull, sluggish mind
- Cold, cough and runny nose
You can also test your dosha online by taking this simple test..http://svasthaayurveda.com/
The central concept of Ayurveda is that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
As mentioned before, your masala chai spice blend can also be altered as per your dosha types. Certain spices and additives can be added or reduced based on your doshas.
Different spices contain medicinal and healing properties such as relaxing the digestive tract, elevating the metabolism, and increasing waste and toxin excretion. Here’s a short list of spices and their healing powers:
- Bay Leaf : relieves gas, expectorant
- Black Peppercorns: clears toxins & mucus
- Cardamom : Freshen breath, improves digestion
- Cinnamon : Improve circulation and digestion
- Clove : increase digestive speed, clear lungs
- Fennel : relieves gas and involuntary muscle spasms
- Ginger : anti-inflammatory for arthritis
- Nutmeg : restores the nervous system
- Star Anise : relieves intestinal pain and distention
- Tulsi : destroyer of all doshas
- Saffron : purifies the blood, rejuvenates
- Lemongrass : good for all dosha types , relieves cold,fever and aches, stomach upsets
The recipe below is a basic one with a few additives according to my dosha which is Vata.
Please also check the notes for spices and additives that can be used in your customised masala chai spice blend, for all dosha types. Theres no authentic recipe for the chai spice blend.
So customize this recipe as per your taste preferences and dosha types, and this will be a small step to healthy living.
- Green Cardamom - 1/4 cup
- Cloves - 1/4 cup
- Dry Ginger powder/ Chukku - 1/4 cup
- Black Peppercorns / Kurumulaku - 1/4 cup
- Cinnamon/ Patta - 1/4 cup powdered)
- Fennel seeds powder/ perumjeerakam - 3 tbsp
- Nutmeg - 1, crushed
- Dried Lemon grass - 1/4 cup (powdered)
- Dried Tulsi leaves - 2 tbsp (optional)
- Star Anise - 2 (optional)
How to Make Masala Tea
- To 1 cup of water, add ½ teaspoon of the chai spice blend, and wait till it starts to boil. Add 2 heaped teaspoons of loose tea powder/dust and turn it to medium heat.
- Once it’s come to a proper boil, and the tea has been infused, turn off the heat briefly and pour a cup of milk and desired amount of sugar/ honey.
- Put it back on the stove, and let it boil once again, stirring it as it heats.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for a minute to finish steeping.
- Strain the tea and pour into cups. .
1.For the Vata dosha types- use more of bayleaf, star anise, cardamom, tulsi, ginger and fennel seeds to your chai spice blend
2. For thee Kapha Dosha types- use fenugreek seeds(less than ¼ cup), ginger, black pepper and cinnamon to your chai spice blend
3. For the Pitta Dosha types, use 1 tsp rose petals, black cardamom (3-4), 1 tsp vanilla, saffron…Reduce pepper,clove and ginger in your chai spice blend
4. Lemon grass is beneficial for all dosha types.
******The knowledge I share on Ayurveda and Doshas are only based on my limited research.You can always consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to get exact results..