There is a tradition in various parts of the world to add salt and some fat or oil to tea and/or coffee – from Ayurveda to Nepal to Mongolia and other parts of the world. We make an easy version of this using our common domestic coffee making equipment.
In the depths of Winter we turn to hot drinks to warm the body. But there are herbs and spices that will also warm us from the inside. Rosemary is one, ginger another, and black pepper too. This drink uses ginger, cardamom and pepper and will tingle and warm your body in the coldest of weathers. It is consumed either warm or at room temperature, so is a no-fuss recipe.
In India, ginger is well known as a cure for colds and sore throats. Dry ginger powder mixed with water is said to work wonders to relieve stiff joints. You can see that this drink is essential during Winter.
The dry ginger powder is essential to this drink – for maximum effect, don’t substitute with ginger root. The ginger, cardamom and pepper do not dissolve completely. Do as I do and stir while drinking, or allow it to sit for 5 or so minutes, then strain.
Chai made with a range of spices and liquorice root is incredibly good. It is also very detoxifying, so it is a healthy AND flavoursome tonic for an afternoon relaxing hot drink. Or morning. Or evening.
This recipe is very much like our first chai – Yogi Chai – all those years ago. Spices are roasted to enhance their flavours, and then simmered. Tea can be added or not – your choice. And it can be sweetened or not. Milk can be added or not. So there is a range of choices and variation.
While it is usually consumed piping hot, it is also wonderful chilled and sipped on hot days and in those heatwaves so common in the area where I reside.
Traditionally India has not had a strong culture of alcoholic drinks, except for a few pockets where naturally fermenting products meant some developed a taste for it (and a reputation, no doubt).
Consequently India has such a rich variety of non-alcoholic drinks, a seemingly infinite variety of all types of drinks – hot, cold, juices, milk based, fruit based, yoghurt based, infusions, coffees, chais, with seeds, without seeds, … It is fascinating to those of us who grew up in countries where choices are limited to water, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Perhaps some soft drink and orange juice. Maybe apple juice. But not much beyond that.
Additionally, the weather is hot in India, rivalling our own temperatures of 40C – 45C in Summer, with the additional humidity in India. Right before the monsoon is when the heat is the most unbearable–daily extreme temperatures and 100% humidity. There is no choice but to adapt, and until more recently, electricity was not available everywhere for aircon. So shady houses and verandahs can be common, people stay out of the heat in the mid day, roof tops are used at night for cooler breezes, and refreshing drinks are made in the afternoons.
Also, many drinks contain salt. It makes the drinks very tasty, but there is also a health reason for this – in heat we lose salt from our bodies through our perspiration. So rehydrating drinks in the afternoon provide water, salt and also sugar for energy in the heat. How sensible!
Already we have posted (and made) a range of Indian drinks, especially Lassi (great for Summer mornings!) and Chai (excellent afternoon and evening cold weather cuppas), and a few cold drinks (Summer sipping). Today is definitely a hot weather drink – Nimbu Sherbet, Indian Lemonade (or Limeade).
Years ago, on my first trip to India, I had the most beautiful tea of Saffron and spices. I still make that often, but it is also very nice to pare the tea back and make an infusion with only saffron, or with saffron and rose buds. It is an amazingly relaxing tea which can be consumed hot or chilled.
While this is commonly called a Persian recipe it is also found all through India which is not surprising given the attention to spices in that sub continent. We prefer saffron from Saffron Only – it is excellent quality with long threads. (I love this saffron, and do not receive any remuneration for mentioning them.)
This recipe is another in our large Chai recipe collection, and it is claimed that the recipe is from a Chai Wallah – a road side person serving small cups of chai to thirsty passers-by. They are the best people, and there is nothing like your daily chai. I so miss those piping hot cuppa’s.
Who does not like chai? I have a deep love for this comforting and nourishing drink. A jar of my chai mix-of-the-moment sits permanently on my kitchen bench.
In mulberry season, we are so lucky as our local Green Grocer has both white mulberries and the darker, more usual (in Australia) dark mulberries. The white mulberries are incredibly sweet whereas the darker ones have a definite tang to them.
Make lassi with either, or with mixed mulberries. They will all be delicious. My preference is the lighter ones to eat, the darker ones for a lassi. The flavours are more intense when you use the darker ones for this drink.
By the way, Mulberries can also be spelt Mullberries.
We have a range of sweet, fruit and salt lassi recipes for you to browse. Explore all of our Yoghurt recipes too. The Drinks recipes are here. Explore our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or be inspired by our Late Spring recipes.
Our weather this year has seen bees and koalas dying in the heat, and tiny fruit forming drop from the trees. It has been a wicked Summer. For the first time ever I am without coriander leaves as they have burnt to a crisp.
In the heat of the Summer one of our favourite coolers is a pineapple based drink with citrus and strawberries, finished off with cooling coconut milk. I like it in the evenings with a touch of alcohol too. We rarely drink alcohol, it is just our preference, but this is one drink that will tempt me on a 40C+ day.
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.
What a powerhouse herb Tulsi is, everyone should have a plant or at least dried leaves in their pantry. We have a few recipes featuring it, and today, another one. An iced tea for the hottest of weathers. We have 40C days in Summer, sometimes hotter, so our minds will be on cooling drinks for afternoons under the grapevines.