This Chaga Chai recipe has to be one of my favourite things in the whole world. I was all set to publish a post on popsicles this week, when I woke up to a cold and rainy day and decided to shift my focus.
This recipe was influenced by a few different things. When I was working on Meghan Telpner’s Culinary Nutrition Expert program in the fall of 2013, one of the recipes we were asked to prepare was Meghan’s Yogi Tea. I fell in love with her simple and delicious recipe. Another recipe that I cross referenced for my Chaga Chai is from Sarah McLachlan’s Plenty, a wonderful vegetarian cookbook I discovered back in the day in Indigo books while completing my undergrad at Queens University. You can find the recipe for Sarah McLachlan’s chai here. I elected to blend the two recipes when it came to developing my own recipe.
While completing Meghan’s course and David Wolfe’s Nutrition Certification, I began to explore the benefits of super foods, including goji berries and medicinal mushrooms. David Wolfe has dedicated an entire book to the wonders of Chaga, along with an excellent summary of the benefits here. This recipe evolved to include Pau D’arco, a lovely tonic herb that helps boost the immune system and also contains anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, among other benefits. You can find all of these ingredients at Harmonic Arts.
¼ cup dried chaga pieces (or 2 tsp Chaga powder)
¼ cup pau d’arco
2 Tbsp goji berries
2 inch piece ginger, grated*
2 tsp whole cardamom
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp whole coriander
2 tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp amchoor (mango) powder (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups filtered water
* If you freeze ginger before grating it you’ll end up with a lovely texture and no stringiness – this works with fresh turmeric too!
Combine all ingredients in a pot over low heat for 2+ hours. I like to steep mine using Ron Teeguarden’s 32 oz Glass Tea and Elixir Maker and Candle Tea Warmer, but the stovetop or a crock pot on low heat works as well. Sometimes I will let it steep all afternoon, for a lovely, nutrient filled tonic. Strain through a thin wire mesh strainer and store in the fridge for up to a week.
I love to pair my Chaga Chai with homemade nut milk and 1 tsp of maple syrup, although you can feel free to substitute with coconut or seed based milk or another natural sweetener of your choosing (no artificial sweeteners please!) One of my favourite nut milk recipes is as follows:
Quick and Easy Macadamia and Hemp Milk
1 cup macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
4 cups filtered water
Process in a high speed blender until smooth. A regular blender works too, it might just take a little longer and soaking your nuts in advance would be a good idea! Strain through a fine mesh strainer or nut sack and use immediately, or keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for 3-4 days.
This milk pairs really nicely with vanilla bean powder and a hint of maple syrup. You can also turn this into chocolate milk by adding raw cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt.
This Chaga Chai recipe is also delicious served over ice, if you happen to be experiencing a warm and sunny day today!