Spiced Beach House Chai and the Awesome Power of Cinnamon


Beach House Chai in Tamil Nadu

Beach House Chai on Karuna Farm, Tamil Nadu

This is something we quaff every day; with some sitar int he background and little incense waft, we could be back in Tamil Nadu, in our cottage on the hills (we have a thing for cottages on hills!!!!)

The ceremony of chai, the aroma as it bubbles on the stove, makes us both feel so at home. Its up there with the smell of freshly baked bread or sweet peas in the depth of summer.

A simple everyday chai here that adds spice and warmth to your morning cuppa. You may like it milkier, adjust the water to milk ratio as you like.  Namastex

Happy Chai Man, Madurai '14

Happy Chai Man, Madurai ’14

The Bits – 4-6 cups

1.5 ltrs filtered water

500ml almond/ soya milk (unsweetened)

12 green cardamom pods
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches, broken in two)
2 star anise

4 teas loose leaf tea (assam is best or 4 normal tea bags ripped open)
jaggery or unrefined brown sugar (to taste)

Do It
Grab a large saucepan. Boil the water in a kettle (quicker) or bring to a boil in the sauce pan.

In a pestle and mortar, bash up the cinnamon and star anise, add to the boiling water, then bash up the cardamom and cinnamon, add that to the boiling water. Lower heat to a simmer and cover, leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Now, bring back to a rolling boil, spoon in the tea. Leave to bubble away for a couple of minutes and then add your milk. Bring back to a boil and sweeten as you prefer. Indians love it very sweet indeed.  Using a sieve (and a ladle is easiest), pour into your favoured receptacle.


In your finest cups. Smaller cups are better and more authentic, even a small glass will do (generally how its served in a proper Chai stall). Sip and slurp with relish.


Foodie Fact – Cinnamon

Surely one of the worlds coolest barks!  Cinnamon is medicine. Powerful agent for healing.  There are two main types of Cinnamon that we can buy, Chinese (known as Cassia) and Ceylon(which is harder to find and supposedly more refined), it is one of the oldest spices we know of and was used by the ancient Egyptians as medicine and also for embalming!  It was considered more precious than gold.  It was even mentioned in Chinese botanical medicine over 4700 years ago.

Containing some truly magical essential oils, cinnamon is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti microbial (cinnamon essential oil can be used as a powerful preservative), flavouring high carb food with cinnamon slows the release of sugars into the blood stream,  helps with type-2 diabetes, it is a very, very, very strong anti-oxidant.  Even smelling the scent of cinnamon has been shown to boost brain activity.   It is also an excellent source of fibre, calcium and manganese.

Cinnamon has long be regarded as a warming spice in Chinese and Indian energy based medicine systems.  This means that is you feel a cold coming on drink plenty of cinnamon, ginger and lemon tea and you’ll be fine!!!

Cinnamon is best bought in stick form, it stores well for an age.  You can then crush it or grind it up freshly ans savour that familiar aroma.  Once crushed, kept it in a sealed container out of natural sunlight.  A fridge is best (this goes for all spices).

Chai's off the menu for me, I hit the Jack Fruit stand instead.  Yum!

Chai’s off the menu for me in India, I hit the Jack Fruit stand instead. Yum!


Or a banana....


Categories: Healing foods, Infusions, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Spiced Beach House Chai and the Awesome Power of Cinnamon

  1. Love your pictures and I use Cinnamon daily 🙂 great info 🙂

  2. Hey banana boy, how do you reckon this would go with home made sesame milk?

    • Yowzah! Homemade sesame milk should be a sensation. I’ve never tried it, so you’ll have to let us know. Cashew milk is of course the ultimate! Peaceeeeeee

      • I would have to hock the son-and-heir (again) to buy cashews. They are a prohibitive price here in Aus. Brazil nuts are cheaper! I make homemade sesame milk as it is very white, very creamy and doesn’t split when you use it in hot drinks, especially tea, my reason for waking up in the morning 😉

      • Sesame milk! Hmmmmmm. We must try this little critter out. Thanks as ever for the inspiration (any recipes for making?) Namastex

      • It has a little hint of bitterness that takes a little getting used to but you can temper that with a little date paste if you like. I just like it neat. I mixed half a glass of kombucha, fresh out of the jar with half a glass of sesame milk yesterday. Best milkshake I have EVER had 🙂

      • I get one and a half cups of sesame seeds (I use white hulled, they are cheaper but unhulled have more calcium) and soak them in 2 litres of water for a day. I then blend the heck out of them in my high speed blender (but after a day soaking they are pretty soft so a regular blender should do so long as you run it till it breaks up the outer husk). I then use a regular metal sieve to pour the milk and pulp mix slowly through whilst stirring it with a spatula so it drains. I then press the pulp with the spatula to squeeze as much out of it as I can…voila, sesame milk. Creamy, very white and isn’t as easily separated as nut milk. I have it like this in my tea and make a batch every 4 – 5 days. The pulp makes excellent muffins. I just made a batch of date muffins yesterday and Stevie-boy got one to eat after dinner and the dog walked over and licked it! SCORE dog, you just got yourself a date and sesame pulp muffin 😉 Steve said that they were delicious. They looked like they would last a while as the pulp would keep them moist inside. I used this recipe (with eggs as it was for Steve) but it only has 2 eggs and would be easy to sub them out along with using oil instead of butter. The sesame pulp wasn’t noticeable in them aside from them being lovely, light and moist. I reckon they would be lovely with spread and jam as they weren’t all that sweet Steve said. http://themuffinmyth.com/category/baked-goods/muffins/

  3. I LOVE chai! I’ve always loved to make it, but have only used spices mixed together in India. I’ve not used my own before. Thank you!

    • Hey, this is something like what you’ll get in a good chai stall in India. You may recognise the aroma, your kitchen will smell like street side Delhi! Peaceeeeee, lee

  4. This looks really great. I’m going to give it a try!

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