It’s hard to overestimate the importance of tea in Irish culture. Tea is simultaneously a beverage, a medicine and a social ritual. It’s the sense that a cup of tea and a chat can cure anything. Even if the weather forecast looks dreary I can be sure that a cup of spicy warmth awaits me at the end of my day.
Making this tea from scratch is easier than you might think. Simply steep black tea with cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger. You’ll appreciate how the spicy fragrances fill your kitchen. Chai is a centuries-old beverage originating from India. In fact, the word chai is the generic word for “tea” in Hindi, where as in the west we are referring to “masala chai” or spiced tea.
This tea is a health-promoting beverage and a tonic for the whole body. It strengthens the nervous system, energizes the body, clears the mind, and is both a remedy and preventive measure for colds, allergies and other illnesses.
What do you do to unwind at the end of the day?
- 8 cups water
- 15 whole cloves
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 20 whole cardamom pods (split the pods first)
- 6 ginger root slices (1/4 inch thick, no need to peel)
- 2 tsp. orange zest
- black tea – 1/2 tsp. loose leaves or tea bag (optional)
- milk of choice and sweetener to taste
- Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger to boiling water. Cover and boil for at least 30 minutes. Let steep until it reaches desired flavor.
- Remove from heat, add black tea and let cool. Strain tea.
- When ready to drink, add one part warm milk (rice, oat, nut, soy) to one part warm chai concentrate. Sweeten to taste with honey or maple syrup. This concentrate will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge or freeze it in ice cube trays to add to smoothies.