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.)
I've been in love with cooking for a long time. It's such an inspiring part of my life and eating fresh and home-made has helped immensely with my yoga practice. I try to follow basic principles from the Ayurveda ( a very old Indian healing method). It is a beautifully soft, slow, and simple way to wake the digestive fires in your system again, reduce ama (clogging/toxicity) without eliminating any major food group, no intense fasting, and without developing obsessive behaviour over your eating. You really just feel loved by your food and visa versa, and because the system entails lifestyle suggestions, it's gentle manner wakes you up slowly into a newness that is longterm.
This soup is wonderfully nourishing, rich and yet cooling for the system. I slipped in some barley grains I had from the night before, and ate it with a fresh chapatti I drizzled some ghee onto. A perfect indulgence on the cloudy londony day it was.
Adapted from a recipe by Jane Noraika.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
100g sweet potato, grated
1/2 fresh chilli, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
1 clove garlic
900ml vegetable stock
100g coconut cream
1 small cauliflower, cored and finely sliced
juice of 1/2 lime
25g fresh coriander
salt and pepper
1) In a saucepan place the oil, onion, leek, sweet potato, (chilli), turmeric, and garlic.
2) Cool until it's all soft, lowering the heat and adding a little stock if it gets dry and sticky.
3) Add the stock, coconut cream, cauliflower and lime juice.
4) Bring up to a boil and cook for about 10 mins.
5) Once it looks done, blend into a texture you like, and finish off with a bit of coriander
and season to taste.