Lately, milky masala chai has been off my desire radar. Perhaps it has to do with winter’s heaviness precipitating in the air. After days and days of much-needed rain, the cold-damp season is starting to take a toll. Lethargy, dragging feet, and cloudy sounding exhales have crept into my periphery. Indicating the kapha in me needs a little attention. With the drop in activity, a spicy circulation boosting always gives me a little boost. However, with my go-to beverage, masala chai, not on the options list, a new tea was in order. As much as I love a cuppa chai on a cold winter’s morning, milk’s cloudy qualities makes me feel heavier. No matter, how much ginger I infuse into the brew, masala chai with nut or cow’s milk is still a cloudy and heavy beverage. Not the best choice when your exhale comes with a faint whistle.
Enter cardamom and Himalayan green tea.
My mom introduced me to this yummy combo last summer, and this winter, it has been the perfect compliment to my sluggish mornings. Lighter and clearer than a milk-based tea, its a better choice for supporting my lymphatic system. Which needs a beverage that will quickly flow through my system and help in liquifying any sticky, thick mucus along the way. Rather than cling to it.
What’s been especially enjoyable is starting my mornings with a single spice, cardamom. I’ve been really able to tune into the wonders of ginger’s cousin. Taking the time to absorb the essential oils when I open my milk-glass jar of bright, green cardamom pods. My groggy self is instantly transported to a silver-dollar eucalyptus forest dripping of honey-scented sap. Good morning, morning. From this point forward, the gray mornings feel brighter, clearer and smells divine.
This simple chai, or qehwa as its called is from one of the oldest cities in the world, Peshawar. Located in Northern Pakistan between Afghanistan and the state of Kashmir. According to my findings, qehwa is consumed throughout the day. A light, anti-oxidant rich beverage, this tea is considered to be a healthy, digestive aid. Not heavy on the quantity of tea, it is fairly light.
Both cardamom and green tea, have diuretic properties and support dispelling water from the body. Which for some, aka me, can tend to accumulate when there is access cold and dampness in the season. Aside from having an intoxicating aroma, cardamom also stimulates the digestive process, kindling our fires, while its opening effect helps support nutrient absorption. It also gently helps dissolve excess mucus, preventing congestion throughout the body. A common side-effect of the cold, damp season that can slow us down mentally and physically. I also find green tea and cardamom makes a nice alternative to hot lemon water, which is too acidic for me first thing in the morning.
In enjoying a warm cup of qehwa for the past few weeks, the mornings have a lightness and clarity. I feel more open and energized. At this point in the season, I find its a better choice, and I happy to be able to break free of my masala chai mornings. Plus, the process is quick. From pounding the pods to the time I take my first sip. In less than 10 minutes, I am ready for the next part of my morning. I hope this delicious tea brings you joy too.
Cardamom Green Tea
- 4 pods green cardamom crushed
- 2 1/2 cups filtered water
- 1 1/2 tsp green tea with floral notes
- a small piece of dried orange peel optional
In a small pot, bring crushed cardamom pods (or powder), raw sugar, dried orange peel, and water to boil while covered. lower heat and continue to simmer for 5-7 mins
uncover for a few seconds, then add tea, cover and remove from stove. let steep for 3 minutes or until leaves open up. Strain and serve.
- tulsi or holy basil makes for a lovely substitute for green tea