Chai Spiced Raw Bars + My Love of Chai November 15 2014 by Simone Denny
My love of chai began many years ago during my first trip to India. I was backpacking with a friend, completely wide eyed and overwhelmed from the colours, smells, poverty, richness, spirituality and beauty - a complete sensory overload. This was my first memory of trying chai, though it's hard to say whether I could actually taste any kind of spice as it was so ridiculously sweet my spoon could have stood upright in the cup.
I loved having a chai straight from the chai wallah - no plastic cups here just piles of lovely unfired pottery 'disposable' cups. I was pleased to finally use these cups that we bought back from India in one of my photos on this blog.
What is Chai
Some may be under the illusion that chai arrived in the west with the onslaught of the Starbucks chain in the 90's, when the chai latte made quite a debut. Well not exactly; chai has been around for over 5000 years. It is believed to have come from India and Siam and was concocted for it's healing properties. Chai has been used in ayurvedic medicine for many centuries. With spices such as cinnamon, ginger and cardamon, it is not surprising the tasty tea has been used for healing.
The recipe for Chai (which is the Hindi term for tea) can vary greatly but there are some key ingredients that are commonly used to make a brew: black tea, spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorns and cloves, plus a mix of water, milk and sweeteners.
What Chai is not
Being a slightly obsessive label reader these days I have been quite horrified by the ingredients that are in some of the powdered chais out there. Powdered chai is often filled with sugars, artificial colours, flavours and other nasty stuff. Chai Syrup is also pretty yucky stuff. If you are heading out for a chai, ask for tea leaf chai over powdered chai or chai syrup to be sure to skip all the hidden nasties.
Chai has got complicated!
I was recently making a batch of chai for a large group of women I was hosting. Early on in the process of making the chai I suddenly got stage fright on how I was going to cater for all the specific dietary requirements of everyone. In the end I opted for a dairy free, soy free recipe... but it still had some caffeine - I figured you can't please everyone! My guests were a mix of caffeine free, dairy free, soy free, sugar free, gluten free modern day women (how has this happened.....? Probably one for another blog post).
You can check out my Almond Coconut Cheats Chai Recipe here. I call it Cheats Chai because I use the delicious Byron Chai for my base, which I love.
Fortunately there is a Chai for everyone
So for those who are caffeine free but still enjoy a cup of chai, Love Chai have created a wonderful Caffeine Free Chai blend that is well worth a try. Dandelion Chai has also become very popular due to it's detoxification properties, Love Chai has a great blend. As mentioned above, watch our for some of the powered chai's, which can be heavily processed with added nasties.
For those who are diary free or soy free there are so many wonderful alternative milks to be used, such as cashew mylk, almond mylk and coconut mylk. For the sugar free you can indeed leave out the sugar or replace it with honey, maple, or sugar alternatives.
Chai Spiced Raw Bars
Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Free, Raw, Paleo, Refined Sugar Free
Running with my theme 'for the love of chai' I felt inspired to create some Chai Spiced Raw Bars. These tasty morsels use some of the key chai spices in them as well as fruit, nuts and other nutirent dense ingredients.
New and Noteworthy on the Nourishing Hub
New Zealand Organic Ghee
Made from the finest New Zealand butter, Ghee has become a popular option for cooking and baking and boasts plenty of health benefits. You can read more here.
Earthpaste Natural Toothpaste
Earthpaste uses Redmond Clay as one of its few ingredients. Earthpaste’s list of natural ingredients is unique, but the things they left out are just as important. Most brands of toothpaste contain foaming agents like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), and chemicals like titanium dioxide to make the paste bright white. Not Earthpaste. It isn’t just safe to swallow — each ingredient in Earthpaste has been used to support healthy systems.
Iris Practice Bath Salts
This is my personal favourite new product range - just the most gorgeous handmade bath salts, made from natural salts, herbs and essential oils. Prefect christmas pressies with varieties such as Ground Me, Muscle Soak, Goddess Bath Salts and more....I will be share more about this in my upcoming gift guide.
Wishing you a beautiful weekend!
Simone @ the Nourishing Hub XX