Savor the Rich Aroma of Chai!
What to eat? Spices not only create a fragrant aroma for your beautiful home, they level up bland food to make it tasty, and they pack powerful antioxidants.
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From Simmering Pot to Meal Plan ~ the Power of Chai🤍
I recall years ago simmering pots of cloves and cinnamon sticks on the stove during crisp fall afternoons. Nothing like a Sunday afternoon reading books in a fresh smelling house! As the day came to a close, down the drain went the beautiful spices.
Little did I know, that this warming spice, stove-top concoction was brimming with health benefits and had endless potential for use in recipes.
Today, that aromatic pot of cinnamon and cloves gets its due recognition as chai - a heady, fragrant brew used in India for thousands of years to elevate the tea-drinking experience and bestow myriad health benefits.
Masala chai is a mixed-spice tea originating from India, made by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices. This fancy tea has gained worldwide popularity, becoming a feature in many coffee and tea houses.
Today, it travels well beyond the tea cup.
Spices that you'll typically find in a rich cup of homemade robust chai include:
Best when a stick of the ruddy curled bark is pulverized to ground bits using a mortar and pestle.
Cinnamon affords impressive health benefits, including lowering blood sugar, stimulating body functions, assisting gut health and killing germs.
Chai just wouldn't be chai without a piece of fresh ginger, busted open a bit to release the powerful juices.
Ginger is a classic stomach settler, known to ease nausea and aid digestion. Ginger helps to reduce inflammation in the body and rebalances the gut flora.
Add three or four whole cloves to your mortar and pestle and grind down to a powder along with your other chai spices before adding to the simmer pot.
Cloves are an analgesic, which means they relieve pain, having been used as a numbing agent in the dental industry for thousands of years up until this very day. With a similar aroma and flavor as cinnamon, cloves share their talent for stimulating the body and cleansing the blood.
🌿 Star Anise
Star anise is a small star-shaped fruit with one seed in each arm. It has an aniseed flavor and is used unripe as a spice in cooking. It also adds a nice flavor to soups and stews.
Nutmeg can be grated directly into your simmer pot, where it imparts a sweetly spicy flavor that is reminiscent of classic eggnog and pumpkin pie.
Nutmeg creates a feeling of calm, nourishing the nervous system with a needed dose of magnesium that works in concert with calcium from milk that you add to your chai.
Crack open 3 or so black cardamom pods. Drop the tiny seeds from each pod into your mortar and pestle and crush up to mingle in with your chai spice blend.
Black cardamom stimulates digestive juices to balance the gut, prevent ulcers and deliver antioxidant benefits as it speeds up blood circulation.
🌿 Black Peppercorns
Finally, black peppercorns serve as an activator, increasing effectiveness of the other spices and adding an extra kick to your warm cup of chai.
The Power of Chai & a Handful of Tasty Recipes | What to Eat
Make Chai at Home
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks, can add whole, but crushing them in a mortar and pestle will help bring out the flavor
3-4 whole cloves
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
⅛ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
3-4 cardamom pods
10 black peppercorns
Add water to fill a quart sized saucepan 3/4 of the way up and place on the stove, turning to medium high heat.
Add your fresh whole spices to a mortar and pestle. Crush and grind to a powder or chunks.
Add ground spices to your pot of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the water level reduces to 1/3 of the way down.
This is your warming spice blend. Not only is it wonderfully delicious and full of health benefits when added to a cup of black tea with milk, but this amber liquid boasts a myriad of uses in recipes.
Once cooled, store your chai blend of simmered spices in a Mason jar in the refrigerator.
Add a tablespoon or two of this potent mixture to your favorite comfort-food recipes and desserts.
Quick and Easy, Chai-Spiced Baked Apples
Chai makes a wonderfully sweet and simple dessert, or alternative to apple sauce served with roasted meats.
3-4 Granny Smith applies
4 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. honey (optional)
3 Tbs. chai spice liquid
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Grease the bottom of a Pyrex baking dish. Place three to four cored Granny Smith apples in the center of the dish.
Add a generous pot of butter to each apple. You can also drizzle honey over each if desired.
Spoon a bit of the chai spice mixture over each apple. Great some lemon zest over top.
Add about half an inch of water and bake in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes.
Overnight Chai Oats
Chai spices mingle beautifully with rolled oats, fruits and nuts in this easy to prepare, no-cook breakfast that's bound to become a fast family favorite.
1-2 cups cooked oats
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded apple
2 Tbs. raisins
2 Tbs. chopped walnuts
1 Tbs. honey (optional)
2 Tbs. chai liquid
To prepare, layer spoonfuls of uncooked oats with milk, shredded apple, chopped walnuts, raisins, a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle of honey if desired, into a Mason jar. Top off with two tablespoons of chai spice mixture.
Cap and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy at home or on the go as a cold cereal breakfast. Don't forget your spoon!
Warm Chai-Spiced Pears
Healthy, mildy sweet and versatile, warmed pears make a lovely fall dessert, or side of fruit with roasted meat or your hot cereal in the morning.
2 ripe pears
2 Tbs. chai spice liquid
2 Tbs. butter
Peel and cut pears into slices. Add to a pan along with about an inch of water, a tablespoon or two of chai spice liquid, and 2 Tbs. butter.
Simmer on low to medium heat until pears are soft.
Serve warm, as an accompaniment to your breakfast cereal. Pour evaporated milk over top if desired.
Chai Apple Pie
Extra spice tastes nice in your slice... of warm apple pie.
6 Granny Smith apples
¾ to 1 cup sugar (or your favorite substitute*)
2 Tbs. flour
3 Tbs. chai spice liquid
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 pre-made pie crust
Line a Pyrex pie dish with a store-bought crust. Peel and slice 6 Granny Smith apples. Combine one cup sugar and 2 Tbsp flour with 3 Tbs chai spice liquid, 1/2 tsp. of lemon zest and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
Mix well and pour into the pie shell. Roll out top crust and carefully lay over apples. Pinch in the sides and cut several slits in the top.
Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until pie is a golden color on top.
Chai-Spiced Butternut Squash Mash
Tastes like a complicated recipe, but it's super easy to make, and makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.
1 butternut squash
3-4 Tbs. butter, softened
2 Tbs. chai spice liquid
2 Tbs. evaporated milk or half & half
Cinnamon and nutmeg powder to taste
Place a butternut squash in the oven. Either slice it in half long ways, or insert the entire squash into the oven on a pan. Set the temperature to 375° and cook for about 40 minutes or until the outer shell can be pierced with a fork.
Remove squash from oven and let cool. Slice in half if you have not already. Remove and reserve seeds for baking, if desired.
Remove stringy parts, and discard. Scoop out the squash flesh and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add butter. Sweeten with sugar or honey if desired. Stir in 2 Tbs chai spice mix liquid, ¼ tsp of salt and 2 Tbs evaporated milk or half and half. Taste-test to check desired sweetness. Sprinkle with cinnamon ginger, and nutmeg if desired.
Serve as a side with roasted meat such as sliced turkey or pork roast with gravy. Or, layer with Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) for a special fall dessert.
Chai-Spiced Apple Cider by the Cup
Mulled apple cider with whole spices simmered in makes a tasty treat.
Take a shortcut and spice up some warm apple cider by the cup. Just add a tablespoon of chai spice liquid after heating.
Live, Love, Chat and Eat,
Kate & Crew