Yes, the hit movie has been Traditional Chai for many, many years…ahem…well, centuries, really. As it should be. Chai spices should be simmered in water to really get all the elegant tastes to bloom in your mouth later when sipped. If you want your chai to give you a little gitty-up, black tea should be added when the heat is turned off so that the tea can steep. As well, add cream, coconut cream, or honey to your liking…strain and enjoy.
But, what if you don’t have time to simmer?
Of course, slow down and simmer yer dang spices and herbs. But, yeah…sometimes we just can’t.
That’s when the spicy sequel to Traditional Chai comes in… Cheater Chai, that is…
Cheater Chai is a honey paste that I’ve been making for about 7 years now and it all started in a humble kitchen in the mountains. I was working at a silent, contemplative retreat center in western NC and spent a good bit of time in the kitchen. I would eyeball the spices often… I started mixing powders and adding them to hot water… I then realized that I was basically making a traditional, Indian chai…but I was cheating…I was just putting the powdered herbs in hot water and stirring.
Later on I figured out that I could mix the powders, stir them into honey…and have a ready-to-go-chai anytime… I just had to scoop out the honey paste and stir it in hot water, milk, or coconut milk and sip!
It was just 2 years later that I opened up an apothecary with a friend. We started making seasonal, herbal preparations for a CSA (Community Supported Apothecary). When winter-time rolled around, we could think of no better herbal preparation to send out than a jar of Cheater Chai. And, we always received great feedback for this delicious, warming, soothing, carminative, and anti-inflammatory sipped treat…
So, here you go. Here’s the recipe. Sip this on chilly mornings, cold evenings, or anytime you need comfort, a clear mind and some digestive ease…
Cheater Chai Honey Paste
Makes 12 – 4 oz jars
3/4 cup coriander powder
3/4 cup ginger
1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup turmeric
1/4 cup cardamom
1/4 cup ashwagandha
black pepper, to taste
1 quart local, raw honey
Mix all the powders together in a large bowl. Add black pepper to your taste… Stir in the quart of honey. Fill your jars full of goodness.
PS – Feel free to play around with this! There are other herbs or spices that could be added like fennel seed, hawthorn berries, or burdock root… Explore a bit…