For the amount of tea we drink in India, one could be forgiven for thinking that we have been drinking tea for centuries. However, it couldn’t be further from truth.
Tea drinking is a relatively new tradition in India. British brought tea to India via China and then tea cultivation started shortly afterwards in the late 19th century. The lower foothills of Himalayas have the optimum climate for tea cultivation and produce some of the finest teas in the world. While everyone has heard of Darjeeling and Assam tea, Munnar in Southern state of Kerala in India also produces good quality tea. Kangra tea from Himachal Pradesh is also making a comeback after it lay dormant for about 100 years.
While tea in most parts of the world is prepared by steeping lose tea leaves or tea bags in hot water, the tea in India, also commonly referred to as chai in Hindi or Cha in punjabi, is prepared by brewing tea with milk, sugar and spices such as cardamom, cloves and ginger.
It’s a lovely, fragrant concoction perfect for any occassion and any time.We drink chai early in the morning, then with brekfast, around 11am and then comes the evening chai. Some of us will drink chai again after dinner. It’s the first thing guests are served when they first arrive and the last thing they will eat before saying good byes. We drink tea at celebrations, birthdays, parties, when stressed, happy, bored or sad.
Chai goes beautifully with every occasion!
And goes with so many snacks and sweets! Serve the tea with any of these snacks such as samosas, poha, bread rolls, onion and potato fritters, paneer pakodas, bread pakora, gajrela, besan barfi, atta barfi, mathiHere’s to chai!
- 3 cups water
- 4 tsp loose tea You want to avoid using tea leave as they won't have the colour needed for masala chai
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 green cardamom
- 1 cloves
- 1/2 black cardamom
- 4 tsp sugar or according to taste
- Grind all the spices to powder (use a pestle and mortar)
- Add sugar to the water and bring the water to boil
- Add the spices and the tea to the water. Let it boil for a minute or so as the water changes colour to dark brown
- Add milk and bring the tea to boil.
- Simmer at low heat for minute or so and then turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil again. Repeat the low/high cycle few times until the tea turns a beautiful reddish-brown colour.
- Strain the tea and serve hot.