Whether you’re a nose-ringed urban hipster or someone interested in women’s weight loss (or both), drinking chai tea is a trend worth trying. A traditional spiced milk tea sold from street corner tea carts and drank in homes all across India for centuries, chai has recently been adopted by the Western world and turned into a stylish Starbucks sipper sold at $4.25 a grandé. Containing less caffeine than regular coffee, this bolstering brew is rich in fragrant spices that aide digestion and boost metabolism, making this easy home-made version the perfect post-dinner cuppa to serve yourself and culturally-minded visitors.
Chai can be prepared in a number of ways, but a common traditional chai tea mix includes cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Studies have shown that cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar, thereby curbing food cravings and increasing energy and alertness. It may also reduce blood pressure issues, lower cholesterol, increase circulation, and alleviate digestive issues such as heart burn, indigestion, gas, bloating and nausea. Cardamom and ginger are related plants native to the Indian forest, both known as stimulators of detoxification, anti-inflammatories, immune system boosters, and used to treat digestive problems. Nutmeg is used medicinally to relieve digestive upset after heavy meals, as well as muscle and joint pain.
Although chai is traditionally made with black tea leaves, this version uses green tea instead, for its clinically proven ability to enhance women’s weight loss. Studies have also shown that both cayenne pepper and cocoa help burn more calories and curb appetite.
You can make several batches of this chai spice mix in advance and store it in a tightly sealed glass jar, whipping it out to sip in solitude or to share with family and friends, as they do in India.
This recipe makes 4 servings.
1 cup water
2 tea bags of green tea or black tea
4 cups low-fat milk or coconut milk
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon stevia powdered extract
Tiny pinch of salt
- Combine the chocolate spicy chai mix in a bowl or jar, and set aside.
- Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan. Once the water starts to boil, remove it from the heat and add in the two tea bags. Allow the tea bags to steep for 5 minutes, and then remove the bags from the tea water.
- Place the sauce pan with the tea back onto the burner at medium heat, and stir in the chai spice mix, vanilla and milk. Continue stirring the mixture on medium heat until the tea is cooked through, about 5 minutes, making sure it does not boil.
- If you choose, you can strain the tea by pouring it through a coffee filter or tight wire mesh basket into a teapot before serving, or you can pour it unfiltered directly into serving mugs (the floating particles can be visually pleasing in glass mugs, if you don’t mind the occasional gritty gulp at the end of tea time).
- Serve and savor.