The origin of tea as a beverage goes back millennia but the indigenous masala chai – black tea with milk and a mix of spices – can be traced back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. At first, it was travellers of mostly Gujarati and Bengali origin, who had better access to spices and quality milk, that began drinking the concoction. But it was under the British-owned Indian Tea Association that masala chai came into its own. Read about the role Indian Railways played in the tea revolution.
Tea leaves were an expensive commodity in the early 1900s, premium tea is still expensive. Local tea vendors used lower quality tea leaves but added flavourful spices like cardamom and ginger to make their chai tastier. Thus masala chai was born. Today, masala chai has become a staple in Indian households.
Masala Chai Recipe
Unlike other countries, tea in India is more than just tea leaves with water or milk. The mix of spices in the masala chai recipe is what sets it apart from being just another tea.
Click here for the list of ingredients and method details.
Ingredients for Masala Chai Recipe (for two cups):
1/4th tsp of spice mix
Equal portions of milk and water
2 tsp CTC tea leaves
Sugar, as required
Method for Masala Chai Recipe:
1. Bring water and milk to a rolling boil.
2. Reduce heat. Add tea leaves and spice mix.
3. Bring to a boil on medium heat. Add sugar.
4. Strain and serve.
Health Benefits of Masala Chai
Not only do the spices used in the masala chai recipe make your tea tastier but also come with a host of health benefits. Here's a breakdown of the spices that make up the masala of a masala chai recipe and their health benefits:
Cardamom: These tiny green pods pack a flavourful punch but more than that, they’re also packed with health benefits. Rich in dietary fibres, they’re a must-have for those who suffer from constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and intestinal spasms. A single serving will give you your daily dose of manganese too. Cardamom is rich in iron and low in calorie count. It’s a mere 36 calories for a serving of 2 tbsp.
Cinnamon: It has a rich woody flavour that adds a spicy tinge to any food or beverage. Cinnamon also has certain healing properties and helps people with Type 2 diabetes. It has properties that keep your heart healthy along with anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cloves: This spice lends foods and beverages a sharp flavour and is a staple ingredient in Indian spice mixes. Clove contains eugenol from which we derive several health benefits. Besides helping the body resist toxicity caused by everyday pollutants, it is also anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidants, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre.
Ginger: Adding fresh ginger paste to your chai will help you stave off a cold and soothe your digestion system. It will also protect you against illnesses with its anti-inflammatory properties. Continue reading for the health benefits of ginger and why adrak chai is a good idea.
Black pepper: Packed with antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties, this spicy black kernel also promotes weight loss, skin and stomach health.
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Click here for the list of ingredients and step-by-step recipe.
Soor Chai Recipe
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Click here for the list of ingredients and step-by-step recipe.
Making Green Tea
If you're not a fan of green tea because it's too bitter, you're probably making it wrong. Read this to know how to make the perfect cup of green tea.
Types of Tea
While the masala chai recipe is the most commonly made tea type in Indian households, there are many other types of tea beverages. Check out our tea series to know all about the many popular types of tea.
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Like all other teas—green, black and oolong—white tea is a product of the Camellia Sinensis plant—an evergreen bush that is found in both India and China. Handpicked and hand processed, it's the least artificially treated. Click here to read more about white tea and its health benefits.
Almost 40,000 tonnes of this iconic tea is said to be consumed globally per year. However, the Tea Board of India claims that it produces only about 10,000 tonnes a year. To differentiate the real from the rest, the Board introduced a certification mark and logo which makes it clear that the tea cannot be produced anywhere else in the world. Find out how Darjeeling tea is different and its health benefits.
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Celebrities Who Love Tea
These five celebrities have made their love for tea known to the world through their Instagram photos. Check out which tea is favoured by your favourite celebrity. And more health benefits of this popular beverage.
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