I’m just back from my yearly trip to the wonderful Womad festival. There were some inspiring new stalls selling healing teas, balms and herbs and I drank more Chai than I though one person could in a day! All delicious but some were really special. I’ve been trying out different ways of recreating a really healthy, therapeutic version to make at home and yesterday evening I think I cracked it!
The key for me was working out how to get really fresh, ground, dried ginger. Dried ginger comes in rock hard lumps that defied every way I’ve ever tried breaking it up! Yesterday evening, sitting chatting to the amazing, inspiring Kay Hebbourn while pestle and mortars, sharp knives and gadgets all failed to make a dent yet again, I had a go at grating it and Wow! So easy!
It really is worth doing. The flavour and scent are out of this world and perfect for fresh Chai. Drying ginger makes it even warmer therapeutically from a Chinese Medicine point of view. I’ve added star anise to stop phlegm building up as the season starts its mists and heavy dews. Green cardamom is a spleen Qi tonic so helps prevent Damp accumulation too, and is good for the digestion. Cinnamon and cloves helps with seasonal aches and pains and lemon rind balances the flavours. You could swap to orange rind if your digestion needs a helping hand. I’ve used unsweetened almond milk as a Yin tonic and to avoid the Damp nature of cows milk.
So here you go! Put some music on and dance around as you grate and stir for a complete Womad recreation!
Therapeutic and Delicious, warming Chai
- One whole nutmeg finely grated
- Two pieces of dried ginger, finely grated
- The finely grated rind from one whole, organic lemon. No pith if possible
- One cinnamon stick
- Half a teaspoon of cloves
- One teaspoon of green cardamon pods lightly crushed
- One litre of unsweetened almond milk
- local, untreated honey (if possible) to taste. Suma do an amazing, organic, forest honey which I used in the cafe. I’m lucky enough to still have some honey from my own bees