There’s been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about trying to avoid the February blahs. While I usually suffer from this seasonal affliction, I’ve been surprisingly chipper lately.
Today was an exception though. The weather has been drizzly for the past few days and everyone here is fighting a cold; combine those two things and you’ve got a bunch of house-bound, cranky people.
I’ve found that one of the best cures for a day like today is a soothing mug of creamy chai. The delightful smell of the mixture simmering away on the stove lifts the spirits, and the warming spices that it contains are said to enhance immune activity, which is perfect for anyone fighting a bug. At the very least they’re extremely comforting on a cold, rainy day.
I’ve been making this chai for years, and my husband loves it so much that he won’t order chai when he’s out because he never likes it as much (you can see why I keep him around!). Store bought chai mixes can be ridiculously expensive, which seems crazy when you realize that a whole pot of the stuff can be had for mere pennies.
When making this recipe, make sure your spices are really fresh or it won’t be as tasty.
Chai (makes 2 small cups but can be doubled for two mugs):
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or use a whole cinnamon stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 heaping teaspoon cardamom seeds or 1 heaping tablespoon cardamom pods (I have pods pictured above, but I prefer the seeds because they add more flavor)
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground (optional)
- 2/3 cup milk (I actually prefer soy, as I think it adds a creamier flavor)
- 2 tablespoons honey (can use sugar)
- 1 tablespoon loose black tea (or 2 average size tea bags)
Bring water and spices to a boil and simmer (covered) for 10 minutes (if using cardamom pods, you may want to crush them with your spoon to expose the seeds). Add milk and honey; return to the boil. Remove chai from heat and add the tea. Cover and steep for two minutes.
Strain into cups.
When the kids were little, I would just pour theirs off before adding the tea. They prefer it full strength these days.
In addition to our afternoon dose of chai, we had a yummy curried squash soup for dinner. Hopefully all of those spices will chase away the flu bugs that are threatening to take hold.