Cheater Chai: The Spicy Sequel

chaga cheater chai and mug

One year we added chaga mushroom powder to the mix.  This was the only time we formulated with chaga at the apothecary.  I won’t do that again, though.  Chaga has become way over-harvested due to its popularity (and many times harvested inappropriately, damaging the tree it was harvested from).

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…

dec CSA 2016

One of the Seasonal, Herbal CSA’s that we sent out during the winter months which included some Cheater Chai…

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…

4 thoughts on “Cheater Chai: The Spicy Sequel

  1. Thank you, Lindsay!! I made a version but having your proportions now will make mine even better. I’m so excited to make my paste. I was using more turmeric and it was not as smooth as yours. Do you grind your herbs before simmering them? And does this have to be refrigerated?

  2. Oh, yummy! I made traditional Chai a couple of times, but I will now be a convert from the Chai concentrate I’ve been drinking for over 10 years. I have all the spices. I have just been too lazy. Thank you for sharing this wonderful motivator!💕

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