Added/Modified on December 19, 2013
Also Known As: Chai
Chai is the word for tea in many areas of the world. Pronounced like the word pie, this tea is a spiced milk that originated in India.
The spices used to make this tea vary depending on the region it comes from. The most commonly used are cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and pepper.
Chai served hot, iced, or even frozen has become popular at specialty beverage shops. There are prepackaged products sold in grocery stores.
What is Chai Tea? Chai Tea is made with black or green leaf tea mixed with varying spices and milk. The most popular base tea is Assam, a strong black tea, but Kashmiri chai is brewed with gunpowder tea.
Chai Tea Preparation:
Spice ingredients for a pot of tea: ◦1/2 of a star anise ◦10-12 whole cloves ◦6-7 whole allspice ◦1 heaping teaspoon of grated cinnamon bark (or 2 short sticks) ◦6-7 whole white peppercorns
◦1 cardamom pod opened to the seeds
Other ingredients needed to make a pot of chai tea: ◦1 cup water ◦4-6 cups whole milk ◦2 heaping tablespoons of a high quality full-bodied broad-leaf black tea (Assam, Ceylon, or English Breakfast)
Directions for Making Chai Tea:
1.In a 2-qt saucepan, add spices to 1 cup of water. Bring to a rolling boil, and then remove from heat. Let the spices steep for 5-20 minutes, depending on how strong you want the spice flavor.
2.Add 4-6 cups of whole milk (half and half also works well) to the water and spices. You can do a low-fat option with non-fat or low-fat milk. Bu add a few tablespoons of cream. Bring the milk and spice mixture back to a boil and remove from heat.
3.Add black tea to the milk and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes to taste. You can reheat to simmer and add sugar to taste at this point, as it is traditionally served. Or you can serve without sugar and let people add the sugar they want.
4.Use cheese cloth or fine strainer and run the liquid through into a pot. Serve.
Benefits of Chai Tea:
Indian chai health benefits can vary based on the recipe used. Generally Chai Tea can produce a warming, soothing effect. It acts as a natural digestive aid and can also provide a short burst of energy due to the caffeine in the tea.
Many commercially produced products have little tea, no spices, and lots of sugar so make sure you read the labels.
All teas whether black or green have anti-oxidant properties. It works as an anti-inflammatory, and has less caffeine than coffee and is often used as a coffee substitute.
While the spices vary, many Chai recipes include the following:
◦Cardamoms: used to calm digestion, ease nausea and reduce flatulence. It is also a treatment for colds and chills.
◦Cinnamon: There have been studies done that suggest this spice has a regulatory effect on blood sugar. It is often used to treat medication-resistant yeast infections.
◦Cloves: are often used as an analgesic, to sooth toothaches, remedy halitosis, and is used to combat intestinal parasites, bacteria, and fungi. They are used to treat diarrhea and other digestive ailments.
◦Fennel: is often used by women to ease menopause symptoms.
Side Effects of Chai Tea:
There are no known side effects of Chai Tea, except those associated with heavy caffeine use. The side effects of caffeine might include restlessness, sleeplessness, and irritability.
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