The varieties of Chai are seemingly endless, and here is another one, incorporating the beautiful Tulsi herb. Tulsi is available as a plant from some nurseries and Indian shops, or dried leaves can be bought as tea bags in health and organic shops. If you can’t find Tulsi, substitute basil.
For this chai, use the leaves of either the Ram Tulsi or the Krishna Tulsi (Tree Tulsi or Red/Shyama Tulsi). If you don’t have access to fresh tulsi you can also purchase Tulsi teabags in health shops, or use sweet basil or perennial basil leaves. I have even included some Thai Basil in this Chai. Surprisingly, these also taste very good and are relaxing. But use Tulsi if you can, it has many health benefits.
Winter comes, and the rains too, and colds and flu inevitably do the rounds. In India it is the monsoon time that is the worst. Luckily there are a range of drinks – chais and infusions – that at least alleviate the symptoms, and perhaps even shorten the length of the suffering.
A Karha, or Kadha, is an Ayurvedic drink made with herbs and spices that are simmered in water to extract their benefits. Karha are generally made with whole spices, herbs and other ingredients found in all Indian households, so they are inexpensive ways to strengthen immunity and fight infections.
One such herb is Tulsi, or Indian Holy Basil. It is a powerful herb in many respects. We have a number of recipes that make use of the properties of Tulsi.
In this recipe it is combined with the classic trio of spices called CCF – cumin, coriander and fennel, and it adds some cloves and cardamom as well. I know you will enjoy it, and it will help your cold if you have one. It also makes you feel incredibly warm and toasty. May you get well soon.
I do love a good cup of Chai, and now that the evenings are cooling I find myself making Chai rather than a herbal tea late at night. There are infinite ways of making Chai, and so far we have a dozen or so of them here. This one is a nice mix too, and I recommend that you try it.
The composition of Chai spices differs from region to region. For example, in Western Indian, cloves and black peppers are avoided. In Kashmir, green tea is used instead of black tea, and they include almonds, cardamom, saffron, cloves and cinnamon in their spice flavourings. In Bhopal a pinch of salt is added to the tea.
I read this heartfelt ode to Chai this morning.
Chai is relevant in any situation.
Guests are coming, make chai
Headache, make chai
Very far away, make chai
Death is coming, make chai
Make ginger chai – with ginger
Rain is coming – Make chai with Pakora
Do not get the blues – Make fennel chai
Make chai to avoid doing nothing !!
Some rhythm is probably lost in translation, but I get the point and love the little poem. How important chai is to everyday life in India. So, we have a different chai for you today – one with liquorice root. There is generally some on hand to make Yogi Chai, so when I saw a simple version of that chai using only liquorice, I leapt into action. It made a delightful afternoon Chai on the first cool day after a string of 40C (105F) days.
Liquorice is generally regarded as more as a medicinal herb than a flavoursome one in India, but if you love it as I do, there is nothing to stop you making this tea at any time. Otherwise, it is used to relieve sore throats, dry coughs or acidity in the stomach.
Tea is a big thing in Sri Lanka and is one of its main export crops. Drinking tea is a national pastime and it is served at any time of the day. Unlike South India, where tea is always milky, tea in Sri Lanka is either black or white, and sweetened with sugar or jaggery, and spices such as cinnamon or ginger can be added
Visitors are always served tea – perhaps this chai with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Rather than make it with milk in the South Indian way, this tea is made black and then evaporated milk is added to both sweeten and add a milky flavour. Who can resist?
We also love herbal teas, and you can explore our Tea recipes here.
A recipe that has formed a chain as it goes from one person to another
Fiona was a twitter friend some time ago. As often happens, life changes, and it had been some time since we have connected,. But a quick search located her in Berlin! Today I came across her recipe for Chai which she sent to me in 2009! It seems so long ago. Fiona made a note that this recipe was given to her by her friend Peta. I love how food and recipes create this chain of people across the world. I am now making you a link in the chain!
So, with great memories of Fiona, I made her chai again this afternoon. The recipe is for a mix, which you can then use to make your chai each day. It is unusual in that it includes dried orange peel and a vanilla bean as well as the usual spices.
You might like to browse our other Chai recipes – we have a few. Or explore our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our easy Mid Spring recipes. I hope you enjoy them.
Chai! The very word evokes a feeling of warmth and comfort, and brings back memories of chai’s past. What an important part of life chai is.
This is a Spring time Chai, with saffron and jasmine flowers. I hope you enjoy it.
Another wonderful Chai recipe
This is the chai recipe given to me by an Ayurvedic doctor from Pune, India. He would visit Sydney regularly to give courses and I was lucky enough to attend several of them.
His chai recipe is not dependent on ratios, just the ingredients. Mix them to your own taste preferences. The best way is to make a small jar of chai blend, and then use the mix to make your morning cuppa.
Tim says that
Chai is an art that must be discovered. The ingredients are the map but the combination is your own journey. The secret is in the intention of the heart.
It’s true, and there is much that you will discover as you make Chai. How to bring it together to get the best flavours. Which spices work best with your body. Which spices work best in the different seasons. Whether you have the patience to make chai well. Are you too impatient? How to keep yourself healthy with the combination of spices, and how to bring yourself back to health when you are out of balance. Which milk to use, whether you add ghee or coconut oil at all to your chai. Does a pinch of salt help? Which chai relaxes you and which invigorates you?
All of these and much more is just part of your individual Chai Journey.