Our melting pot of cultures that makes up our diverse country allows us to bring an array of exotic foods and spices from lands far away right into our kitchens. In India, millions have enjoyed masala chai for many generations. Masala chai has made its way into our coffee and tea shops and is commonly sold in grocery stores to make at home. It is a spiced, sweetened black tea mixed with milk, by the classical Indian definition. It is sold in India by chai wallahs, or tea vendors, who pour this aromatic tea from big iron kettles into small cups. Americans have incorrectly shortened to just “chai”, which is not necessarily correct since the word chai alone simply means “milk tea.” “Masala” refers to the unique combination of spices that our taste buds adore. Masala spices often include cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, fennel, and star anise.
Masala can also be a fantastic match for nuts and seeds. The combination of this earthy aromatic spice blend highlights the nutty taste of almonds, peanuts, cashews and other nuts and seeds, perfectly. Since we like to focus on cooking with a purpose around here, let’s not forget to mention how this blend of spices delivers many health benefits. Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves each have unique nutritive value and have each been studied and linked to various ways they can impact our health. A common theme is their ability to help our body fight off inflammation. Another is their ability to help our metabolism stabilize blood sugar levels.
The recipe below combines masala spices, honey, seeds, raw nuts and our Once Again Almond Butter into a bite sized portions that you can enjoy just about any time of the day. They are hearty enough to be a part of your breakfast and help you stay satiated until your next meal. They can also be deliciously paired with a cup of hot tea for an afternoon snack —or perhaps they can work too for you as a post- workout snack to replenish lost energy stores and kick start muscle healing, helping you avoid excessive inflammation. Regardless of when you choose to eat them, they are phenomenal, and you might just find yourself making them week after week. Feel free to share this recipe with friends and adapt it to include your favorite nuts, seeds, or dried fruits!
Masala Nuts and Seeds Cups
½ cup of raw cashews
½ cup of roasted sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon of ground cardamom
½ cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ cup of currants
2 tablespoons of Once Again Creamy Almond Butter
2 tablespoons of honey
¼ cup applesauce
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
Add all ingredients to a food processor, except for the currants. Once well mixed (do not over process), add in the currants and mix again. Then distribute the mixture evenly among 12 mini-muffin cups and refrigerate to set. You may place the bites in the freezer for 20 minutes for quicker results. Keep these delights in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.