- Type: Tea
- Course: Beverage
- Place of Origin: India
- Main Ingredients: Black tea leaves, milk, spices, sugar
For over a billion people in India Chai is not just a beverage but an emotion itself. A sip of the chai and all the day’s stress gets washed away with the sweet and warm delight. Chai in India is served in several variations, but the Masala Chai is one of the most loved widely popular tea not only in India but across the globe. Masala Chai means ‘mixed-spiced tea’ and it is an Indian hot beverage made by boiling black tea in milk and water along with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices. Originated in India, the beverage Masala Chai or Masala Tea has made a special place in the heart of people across the globe and has gained worldwide popularity, featuring in several coffee and tea houses.
The term ‘Chai’ is a Hindi word which has been derived from the Chinese word for tea, ‘Cha’. According to legends, Masala Chai was created several centuries ago during the time of the monarchic India when the kings savored this chai as an Ayurvedic beverage – a union of herbal spices to drink for medicinal purposes. Masala Chai typically uses black tea leaves as base along with spices such as ground ginger, green cardamom pods, cloves, peppercorn, and other spices to make a heavy concoction known as ‘Karha’. The traditional amalgamation of spices can differ from region and climate, such as in Western India, warm spices such as cloves, ginger root, and peppercorns are usually avoided and lemongrass is used but in the northern or colder region, warm spices are used, sometimes with green tea instead of the black one.
This hot and brewing cup of chai is loved by Indians all-year round along with their breakfast and evening snack. During the winters and rainy season, masala chai is specially preferred as it keeps the body warm and prevents cold or sinus. Masala Chai is made in almost every Indian household and the recipe differs from family to family and individual to individual. The combination of spices, quantity of milk and water, the kind of tea to use, and the amount of time it must be brewed, all decide the flavor, taste, and color of chai and is a personal choice. Nonetheless, a masala chai when sipped gives the body and soul a sense of delight and warmth that is worth every minute that goes into making this cup of happiness.
Making of Masala Chai
The usual tea leaves used for making Masala Chai in India is Assam tea (known for its strong flavor), Darjeeling tea (known for its fruity flavor than strength), and Nilgiri tea (known for both fruity flavor like Darjeeling and strength as of Assam tea) and is mostly preferred in the South India.
To make masala tea, pour 1.5 cup of water in a pot and add tea leaves according to your taste. Keep the flame to low and in a mortar pestle or grinder, add some cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and peppercorns, and crush them coarsely. Add the grounded spice mixture into the tea along with some crushed ginger (optional) along with some sugar to taste. Let the tea come to a boil and then add half a cup of full fat milk and again bring it to one boil. Simmer the chai until it changes color, and the aroma of spices starts wafting. Taste the tea at this stage and bring it to one last boil. Strain the tea to a pot or cups from a height of 1 ½ to 2 feet and serve masala chai hot or warm with some delicious snacks.
Another method is to grind the whole spices into a slightly coarse powder and keep it in a jar. Add the powder while making the tea to get the essence of spices and make masala tea instantly. Ginger powder can be added in the spice powder instead of adding fresh ginger every time.
One cup of Masala Tea gives 105 calories, out of which carbohydrates comprise 49 calories, proteins account for 10 calories, and the remaining 33 calories come from fat. One cup of Masala Chai provides about 5 percent of the total daily calorie requirement of a standard adult diet of 2000 calories.
A warm cup of bliss concocted with a magical blend of aromatic herbs and spices, tea leaves, and the creamy milk, Masala Chai is an emotion poured in a warm cup, every sip of which gives a soothing warmth to the body and a delight to the senses.
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