Masala Chai is a perfect morning drink to break into the day with. It's warming for the system with it's spices and so easy on the digestion. This is my favourite recipe - simple and quick to make once you've ground up an initial batch of the masala powder. Some Indian friends I was teaching yoga to in my hometown in Zambia, would always put in lemongrass which I particularly like.
Chai is generally ok for all dosha's if you're feeling good. It can be aggravating to Vata (wind), and Pitta (heat) in excess, or when there is a strong imbalance. You can always opt for a de-caf or rooibos version, though there really isn't a true replacement for the original.
Follow the link to see a very inspiring project of authentic Indian chai wallah's by photo journalists Resham and Zac.
A nice basic masala powder ..
3 tbsp green cardamom pods
4 tsp fennel seeds
2 rounded tsp ground ginger * (or omit and add fresh ginger later)
1 tsp black pepper
12 cm of cinnamon stick
Tea (I like to use slightly ground down loose leaf tea like Clipper English bkfst or assam)
Grind the spices in a coffee grinder and keep in an airtight container.
To make tea for 1; pour 1 cup (250 ml) of water into a small saucepan, add 1/2 tsp tea leaves and 3/4 tsp masala powder, and then simmer a while till the strength is right and some has evaporated, then add
3 tbsp milk, a cube of raw sugar cane and a little more chai powder if needed, let simmer a minute more and you're done.
* Many times I like to use fresh ginger and a little lemongrass, so I will grind all the ingredients omitting the dry ginger, and then add a 1/4 tsp of the masala powder, along with 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger, and 1/2 inch lemongrass. (Fresh ginger is good for all dosha's and dry ginger can be quite heating so not recommended when Pitta is in excess.)