Once the heat of Summer and the warmth of Autumn die away we stop making fruit juices so often and turn to miso soups, and teas and infusions to warm our days and provide relaxing interludes. Here are some more, mainly infusions, to spark up your cold wet winter weather and get rid of the rainy day blues.
There are several recipes for Tulasyadi Phanta. This is one that is not so common – perhaps more recent as it includes lemongrass. It is a infusion that is good for colds and fevers, and also if you are exhausted from work or illness, and need to feel comforted and rested.
The infusion is made with Tulsi, the Indian holy basil, seeped with lemongrass, cloves and cinnamon. It really is relaxing – as you sip it in the afternoon you feel your body beginning to relax and your breath deepen. It is a gorgeous way to wind down.
Chai is the comforting drink that we all need every day. It is made from tea, usually an Assam tea, spices, milk and sugar. The spices are simmered in water and milk with the tea for some minutes to infuse the flavour, and it is sweetened before serving. The tea is simmered with the spices – a different way of brewing it when we consider the dunk-in-dunk-out method of the British and others.
Learn how to make Chai properly here.
Enjoy these 20 or so different Chai recipes.
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.
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.)
Fennel is in kitchens all over India not only because it is a delicious spice but also because of its health benefits. Anise too, similar in flavour but with different health impacts. They say that including one or the other in your diet each day will make significant improvement in your health.
Then why not make tea from it? Using either fennel or aniseed, together with some good Indian black tea, we can brew a delicious elixir that is perfect either hot or iced.
Chai as an art that must be discovered. Ingredients are the map but the combination is your own journey. This is the secret intention of the heart.
Today, we explore a wealth of different items that can be added to a basic chai recipe to vary the flavour combinations to your heart’s content.
There are more variations for Chai here: Indian Chai Variations.
We love iced spiced infusions in Summer and hot, warming infusions in Winter. We call them Teas, even Herbal Teas, but there is hardly a herb in site in these, and there are no tea leaves to be found. In India, any label that includes “Tea” indicates the presence of tea leaves, so to call an infusion a tea is very confusing there. Here, we call anything that is infused and sipped a tea.
These infusions can be consumed hot or chilled over ice. As I write it is 42C here in down town outer Adelaide. We have a spice mix infusing in the large tea pot. When it is cool it will be refrigerated and served over ice in the heat of the afternoon. It might be garnished with lemon slices and lemon verbena leaves, or maybe mint leaves.
The thing about spiced infusions is that they do have Ayurvedic properties. I have listed doshas here, but if you haven’t heard of doshas, then ignore them and just enjoy the spice combinations. Please note that I am not am Ayurvedic practitioner, so if you need health advice, please consult a professional.
I collect recipes for different Ayurvedic infusions and chai – these are ones that I’ve come across recently.
In heatwave conditions there is nothing like something cool and refreshing to drink and to help to keep our liquid intake at good levels. My routine each morning is to make our juice, tea or infusion (to be iced), coolers, iced coffee or lassi drinks ready for the day. Our afternoon tea, in the hottest part of the day, is usually in the shade of trees (if the temperature allows) or in the air conditioned kitchen by the large windows. Sipping something cool or icy on these days is heaven.
Many of our hot teas and infusions are perfect in Summer when iced. Just adjust the recipe to infuse, cool, then refrigerate. Use spices or herbs for iced infusions.
Enjoy these recipes, they just might inspire you and change the way that you think about cooling drinks on hot days.
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.