Written by Carrie Woodard
Asia: Masala Chai
The recipe below is spicy, flavorful, and rich — and nothing like the chai lattes you make from a mix or buy at Starbucks… In fact, it’s even better!
Masala chai, which is Hindi for “spiced tea” and is sometimes referred to simply as “chai,” originated in India thousands of years ago. Back then, it was made up of spice only and consumed both hot and cold as a medicinal response to a variety of ailments. The chai we think of today, which contains spices and black tea, developed after British colonization established tea plantations in the 1830s. This version of masala chai gradually grew in popularity both in India and throughout the world. Today, many variations of chai exist and vary in types of spice, sweetener, and milk. Of course, the type of masala chai you drink will depend largely on who’s preparing the beverage for you and which part of the world you’re in.
The version below is based on a traditional Indian masala chai.
Recipe adapted from Shilo Urban.
- 2 cups of your favorite milk (I use coconut for creaminess)
- 2 cups of water
- 1.5 tsp of black tea (Assam or Darjeeling are the best!)
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 2 pieces of whole green cardamom
- 1 piece of whole black cardamom
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 pieces of whole cloves
- 1 piece of black peppercorn
- 1 small piece of fresh ginger root
- Prepare your spices with a mortar and pestle or food processor by combining and grinding black and green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorn.
- Prepare ginger first by peeling and then by using a mortar and pestle or food processor. Crush well.
- Bring water, sugar, and black tea to boil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
- Once the tea is boiling, add spices and ginger along with two cups of milk.
- Boil for 3-4 minutes before removing from heat.
- Pour mixture through a fine sieve.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Latin America: Champurrado
Champurrado is the chocolatey version of a thick, corn-based hot drink called atole, which originated in Central America and is popular in countries including Mexico and Guatemala (a country where FH works!). While Atole is often associated with the winter holiday season, it’s also a common accompaniment to breakfast or dinner. Champurrado is a version that uses the ancient Mayan ingredient native to the Amazon that some believe is magical… You guessed it: chocolate! Below is a dairy-free adaptation that nevertheless tastes like decadent chocolate pudding and a piping hot chocolate combined.
Recipe with photo adapted from The Bojon Gourmet.
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of your favorite milk (I used coconut milk!)
- ¼ cup of masa harina or corn flour
- ¼ cup and 2 tbs of dark brown sugar
- 2 tbs of cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp of cayenne or dried chipotle powder
- ⅛ tsp of fine sea salt
- 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- Optional: top with whipped cream to taste
- Optional: chocolate shavings to garnish
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the corn flour, sugar, cocoa powder, chili powder, and salt.
- Next, mix in water until mixture is fairly smooth, then add almond milk, cinnamon sticks, and chocolate.
- Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering and stirring until mixture is smooth and thick (about 10-15 minutes).
- Serve immediately or remove from heat and let stand until ready to serve. Champurrado will continue to thicken as it stands, with the flavor of the cinnamon deepening over time.
- If you do not have access to masa harina, Bob’s Red Mill corn flour or a similar option will work just as well! Be sure not to mistake it for corn starch.
- Extra champurrado can be chilled for several days and reheated with extra milk to thin if needed.
Africa: Honey Cinnamon Rooibos Tea
Rooibos (pronounced “roy-boss”) is an herb native to parts of southern Africa that can be harvested, dried, and brewed into an aromatic infusion known as “African red tea” or “red bush tea.” Rooibos has been harvested and brewed for centuries by people in South Africa, and is delicious on its own — or with added milk and sugar, as it is commonly taken. As a caffeine-free drink, rooibos is a great coffee alternative for any time of day. On top of that, its plentiful antioxidants will give you a great health boost!
Please enjoy this honey cinnamon rooibos tea recipe… a spicy and rich take on an old drink, perfect for warming up any cold night.
Recipe with photo adapted from Life More Abundant Blog.
- 2 cups of water
- 1/2 oz or 1 tbsp rooibos leaves
- 1 tbsp of grass-fed butter
- 1 tbsp of coconut oil
- 2 tsp of honey
- 1.5 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pan or tea kettle.
- Add rooibos leaves to a french press or teapot.
- Pour boiling water over rooibos leaves and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- While the tea steeps, add butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon to a blender. Then add the hot tea and blend ingredients together until well combined.
- Serve immediately.