Chai is the Hindi name for tea, which apparently, was derived from the Chinese name ‘cha’. Chai contains a blend of different spices, varying vastly through different regions and cultures.
It is often brewed with milk and sweetened. In more modern times, it typically involves black tea which probably helped to make it more popular in tea drinking nations. I am not using black tea in this recipe because it really doesn’t need it.
Chai is thought to have originated from India thousands of years ago as a healing ayurvedic drink, with each ingredient containing powerful properties for health.
In this recipe, I am using freshly grated ginger, freshly grated turmeric, ground cinnamon, crushed cardamom and a twist of black pepper, all for a warmly welcomed, fiery bite. They all have excellent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, whilst each individual ingredients brings a treasure trove of other wellness properties to the mix.
I specifically wanted to find a way to bring maca powder into this recipe, with a balanced, uplifting blend to help all the flavours dance together.
Maca is an incredible friend on the journey of life and deserves a special place in our daily cuisine!
I discovered maca a long time ago when superfoods started taking off in the health food world. Then when I entered a challenging phase of my life (as we all seem to do at some point) it proved to be an amazing ally for my journey of wellness.
Maca is an adaptogenic plant, which essentially means that it helps you to adapt to challenging situations (mentally, physically and emotionally), balancing the endocrine system and helping us to find equilibrium within our bodies. Maca is the quintessential antidote for the turmoil that modern day living has on our health and wellbeing.
Traditionally this superfood grows in the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of between 4000 and 4500 metres above sea level. It withstands harsh thrashing winds, intense sunlight, and extreme cold weather of such a climate which gives a little insight into its helpful properties of supporting our own bodies during challenging situations. Plants tend to pass on their own properties to us. Other edible plants are not able to survive at such elevations.
Maca looks a bit like a turnip and grows to somewhere between golf and tennis ball size. We consume the root of this plant which comes in red, black and yellow. It’s consumed as a powder, added to smoothies, breakfasts, drinks or in capsules (unless you live in the Andes of course, where you’d be able to harvest the fresh root).
Maca is well known for supporting hormonal health. Natives have used this herb to counteract hormonal issues (including menopausal and post menopause symptoms) for centuries.
Sexual and reproductive health and libido tend to spring to mind when we think of hormones – all of which are greatly supported by maca – however, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Hormones are in fact chemical messengers that tell our cells what they need to do, regulating the balance of our entire body. Hormone function includes digestion control, sleep regulation, brain development, mood, heart behaviour, blood pressure, fat metabolism, skin health, mental health, immune system, reproductive health, sexual health, bone maintenance.
Hormones also manage our fight or flight response, induce calm, and control the rate at which we age. Maca’s powerful ability to balance hormones make it one incredible plant-food to include in your daily life!
You can read all about maca in my in-depth article here…
You can use homemade nut milk for this recipe (which is both fun and super easy to make)…
Homemade Almond Milk Step-by-Step
- Grate the ginger and turmeric with a fine grater.
- Crush the cardamom pods and seeds with a pestle & mortar.
- Add the maca powder, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, vanilla and coconut sugar to the water in a pan and allow to cook for a few minutes on a medium heat.
- Add the plant-based milk to the pan after a few minutes and heat up. You don't need to boil it at this stage (it's actually best not too as the milk might separate). You are looking for the point where the liquid is hot to touch with your finger, yet not quite yet boiling.
- Strain with a tea strainer and enjoy immediately.
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