Sunday, January 16, 2011

Drink= Chai Tea Latte

Chai Latte, More Than Just Exotic Flavors
Health and Wellness Contributor
Rebecca Eivens

While a nice chai latte is the perfect thing for the palate on a cold wintery day, it also re-energizes the body with some of its pure and natural properties. Cinnamon is frequently used in food healing systems for it's anti-inflammatory properties, help in reducing blood clotting, and assistance in the process of sugar balancing. Ginger has been known to relieve muscle pain and swelling when taken into the diet, is prized for its benefits to the digestive system,  and boosts the immune system. Almonds are high in vitamin E, are very good for the complexion, are beneficial to people with asthma, and are believed to help those with lung disease. Cloves are soothing for the tummy, as is nutmeg and anise. Next time you have a Chai Latte, feel good about it, it's more than just exotic flavors.

What You Need: 
2 cup milk
2 cup water
8 teaspoons demerara sugar (or honey to taste)

3 whole cloves
1 star anise pod
6 whole black peppercorns
1 pinch of nutmeg, ground (be careful with this spice, it can be overwhelming)
3 cardamom seeds
2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 large strip of orange peel, dried*
6 almonds (marcona preferred), toasted
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, sliced
4-5 teaspoons black tea leaves

How You Make It:
1. Heat the milk and water to a simmer.
2. Toast the cloves, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick pieces, and peppercorns in a pan over medium heat to release the aromas and flavors.
3. Put the black tea leaves, spices, dried orange peel, and almonds in a mortar and pestle and grind lightly. Place into a tea infuser ball with the nutmeg and fresh ginger. If you do not have a tea infuser, you can put the spices directly into the water/milk mixture, simmer, and strain at the end.
4. Add to the water and milk mixture and simmer until you get the color and flavor that you want. Remove the spice ball and add sugar or honey.

*To make dried orange peel, simply put orange peels on a cookie sheet and dry in a very low oven (175 degrees) until hard. This concentrates the flavor, works as a great spice in cooking, and makes good use of what most people throw away. The orange peel can be stored for months in an airtight container.