Journey 362: Big Magic Chai

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, offered this homey recipe this morning on her Facebook page. She called it Big Magic Chai, a homemade concoction she created that will cure everything!

I was intrigued! I love teas…Scottish tea, English tea, green tea, and I make my own blends of herbal teas. Nothing says comfort to me like a steaming cup of hot tea. I enjoy chai, however, I’ve never made it myself so I was excited to try the recipe.

Crushing cardamom pods for the chai. 

This evening presented the perfect opportunity. The rain transitioned to snow and freezing rain today. The storm system finally moved on through, leaving cold temps behind. A cup of hot chai sounded wonderful.

Here’s the recipe:


Bring 3 cups of water to boil.


3 Cinnamon sticks
1 to 2 inches of ginger, diced (1/4 teaspoon dried if fresh isn’t used)

1 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of whole black pepper

About 8 – 10 pods of cardamom, crushed.

Bring it all to a boil, let it simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Add 2 black tea bags. (If you like, you can throw a vanilla pod in there at this time, as well. If you want to go really nuts, throw a star anise in there, too. *But be careful. Star anise is the beets of spices — it takes over EVERYTHING.) *Liz’s funny remark! I went a little nuts and threw in half a star anise.

Simmer again for about 5 minutes.

In the bottom of the biggest mug you’ve got, put a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a tablespoon of coconut oil.

Take a bit of the chai liquid, put in the mug, and whisk it until the honey, turmeric powder, and coconut oil are all blended. (Alternatively, you can blend it all in a blender, but it works with a whisk nicely.)

Now fill your giant mug 3/4 of the way with hot strained chai liquid.

Heat up (or froth up) some milk or milk-like substance of your choice. Top off the mug with the hot milk, and stir.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as the tea was boiling. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, except fresh ginger, so I substituted ground ginger. I buy cardamom pods and star anise at the health food store. Half a star anise was perfect and didn’t “take over” the other flavors.

This chai was so flavorful. I think I’ve found my new nighttime drink. The recipe makes enough for one giant mug or two regular mugs. Not only does it taste great, but it’s good for you. Liz’s playful claim that it cures everything may be exaggerated, but not by much! The ingredients make this an anti-inflammatory drink that’s good for easing colds & the flu, digestive troubles, and aches and pains in general. My stuffy head immediately cleared up, and I was warmed from the inside.

Liz Gilbert suggests drinking the chai down while reading a good novel, which is a brilliant idea.  I enjoyed sipping on it while working on the assignments in The Artist’s Way and writing out thoughts about the upcoming year. However it is enjoyed, Big Magic Chai is love in a cup, meant to be savored.

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