The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Turmeric Chai // the year in food

Last weekend, driving home late at night along Highway 1 from a weekend project in the dreamy town of Bolinas, tired beyond reason and probably pushing my ability to drive, I tethered my attention to a conversation between Krista Tippett and Joe Henry.

Their talk was profound in the darkness, with the damp, salty air bringing a welcome chill, traveling along a road that I usually drive too fast, along a road where frequent out-of-towners can’t seem to travel more than 15 miles per hour, and I am forced to slow down behind them, frustrated, knowing that the view is magnificent and that the curves can be intimidating, but preferring to push it for some sense of exhilaration. But on this drive, in the dark, I found myself traveling nearly as slowly as the tourists.

Turmeric Chai // the year in food

And then Joe Henry said this thing about the road, while I was driving on one, and it stuck: “Well, we’re sort of seduced into thinking that, like, here’s life and then there’s these bad things that can happen that are like obstacles that just fall into your road. As if the obstacle is not the road, you know?”

The road is an easy metaphor, and hearing that while driving along one of the most metaphor-rich roads in an ink-colored night made it hit the sweet spot. Life has been so busy lately, the kind of busy that demands my attention for all of my waking hours, and it takes some of the joy out of living. But sometimes there’s no way around that, right? So I’m trying to find these little moments, the moments of grace in between the obstacles, and more than that, I’m trying to accept the little obstacles. Because Joe is right. The obstacles are part of the road.

Turmeric Chai // the year in food

Those little moments? Reading for 10 minutes. Going on a quick walk. Having a cup of tea. Putting my damn phone down. Taking a bath. You know the drill. We all know what these little moments are, but I find that I need to remind myself, daily, weekly, to build them into my day.

And yeah, that’s why turmeric chai. I never really appreciated turmeric before trying it fresh. Fresh, it is bright, herbal, a little floral, a little citrusy, green, vibrant. I am totally in love with its unusual flavor. I’ve also been adding it to my smoothies. Turmeric is a soother, known for easing joint pain and tummy troubles. Too much of it can make the flavor a little astringent, but balanced with the herbs of chai and the sweet of honey, it is like a dreamy elixir.

Turmeric Chai // the year in food

Yield: 2 servings

5 one-inch slices of ginger
1-inch knob of fresh turmeric, grated
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 cup water
8 whole cardamom pods, crushed
8 black peppercorns
2 sticks cinnamon
1 or 2 tablespoons honey (to taste)

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the ginger slices, grated turmeric, almond milk, water, and spices. Slowly bring to a low simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour the chai through a sieve or mesh strainer into a heat-proof vessel that can hold two cups. Stir in honey. Enjoy hot.

  • Cate - That is a gorgeous shade of yellow. I want to make this just for the color!ReplyCancel

  • Yvette - I love the way you are different. Thank you for sharing so much delicacy in your pictures and your words.ReplyCancel

    • Sam - This chai looks delicious,,
      by just looking at it already felt warm in my bodyReplyCancel

  • ASHLAE - Amen to putting the damn phone down and enjoying the little things. I, too, have been practicing a similar approach to what feels like a chaotic and busy life, and sometimes I have to laugh at myself because DANG it’s sad how distracted and consumed I can be by work and social events and those mundane, everyday tasks. Around here, March is for slow livin’, more home cooked meals, and evenings spent with ourselves and some mothereffing peace and quiet. Wouldn’t mind a turmeric chai night-cap, either. xoReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon - KIMERLY. I loved that line, too, about the obstacles. I was driving as well and almost pulled over the car. So good. xoxReplyCancel

  • Maikki // Maikin mokomin - I love that bright yellow color, it’s like a mug full of sunshine :)ReplyCancel

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats - Its really good for you skin too. Taking turmeric + omega 3 + spirulina totally changed my face :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim at Something New For Dinner - YOur turmeric chai looks fabulous! I have been looking for ways to increase the amount of turmeric in my diet. The research is pretty clear that this food is very good for you. Your pictures make this drink look wonderful. Would you mind if I share it with my readers at Something New For Dinner?

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Grace - I’ve been working hard at restructuring my morning routines for mornings when I’m home rather than at the gym. It’s nice to find a balance between quiet mornings of reading and pampering myself and those spent sweating my tail off. As the sun is coming back earlier it’s been nice to take back my mornings. Tomorrow morning, I’m adding this to my routine!ReplyCancel

  • Maria @ Island Living Midwest - Isn’t it amazing how beautiful the taste of fresh turmeric is? In Puerto Rico we add it to warm milk with cinnamon when we want a night cap. I personally love it after a strenuous workout because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Have never tried it in a true chai. And this is going on my list to try.ReplyCancel

  • Dina - Thanks for this. I was thinking of trying a chai recipe and I think this is the one. The colour is so beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - This is so beautiful, Kimberley. That’s such a good and profound metaphor, about the obstacles as the road, but one that is so hard to remember in difficult times. And those little moments of goodness are invaluable. It’s something I’m working on right now, too. Wishing you lots of breaks and quiet moments and chai! We should have one of those sorts of breaks from the day-to-day together soon. (: xoReplyCancel

  • Amy - You have star anise in the picture but not in the recipe, is this right? Will probably add it anyway. Beautiful color!ReplyCancel

  • Alanna - This looks amazing Kimberly! I so agree about fresh turmeric – it’s so bright and addictive, heads and tails above the dried stuff. I can imagine how lovely it must taste here. On it!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - The moments of grace in between the obstacles = yes! that’s so perfect and exactly sums up the way I’m trying to live my life at the moment. And when I’m in the middle of those obstacles, remembering those moments of grace makes it that much easier to cope. Love the sound of this soothing + comforting brew so much.ReplyCancel

  • Gaby - This chai looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • sita - aaahhhh… a refreshing image with a lovely caption. thank you for finding the road for us once again, and then sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Love this! I am really into turmeric right now, too. The road is indeed an easy metaphor. I like this take. Hope you’re well! xo SReplyCancel

  • Lynda - Turmeric is my new favorite health food, and I have been looking for a good tea recipe – this is perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Ileana - Sunshine in a mug! I make Heidi’s turmeric tea [] whenever I feel a cold coming on. Can’t wait to try your version. Looks like a total treat!ReplyCancel

  • Becca - hello! You pictured star anise but it’s not In The ingredient list. Just curious if you actually used it and how much! Thanks! Looking forward to trying this!ReplyCancel

  • Leo Sigh - I make something similar and I drink loads of it. I live in Thailand and we get the freshest turmeric at just about any local market, and it’s dirt cheap. I add it to so much food, as it’s a cancer preventative, as well as diabetes preventative and has a boatload of other health benefits too. Thanks for the recipe. Will try this for a change from mine :) Gorgeous photos too.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - The skills are amazing. Thanks and keep upReplyCancel

  • Pamela - I really feel a huge difference on days where I drink apple cider vinegar and turmeric steeped for 10 minutes in hot water. Will definitely be trying this chai, it sounds wonderful!


  • Nishta - I am so eager to try this! I, too, recently discovered fresh turmeric and it is like a revelation. My mom, who is from India, has been so excited that the fresh root is now so readily available here in the States.ReplyCancel

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