Masala Chai literally means spiced tea, a beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs.
Chai by itself is a generic word for Tea in most of the South Asian countries. Chai in Hindi is also known by various names by their regional languages in India like cay in Urdu or Persian, Caha in Marathi, Cha in Gujarati and Bengali etc.
Although coffee is more popular beverage in most parts of southern India, tea is ubiquitous throughout South Asia where you can find many street vendors known as Chai wallahs as a common sight. Chai or tea is also a popular item in the genre of South Asian restaurants known as Irani cafes or Chai Khanas.
Traditionally brewing of tea is very easy and the process does not take a long time. Normally for many English speaking people outside the Asian Regions, the term Chai is synonymous with Masala Chai.
Tea plants have grown wild in the Assam region since antiquity but historically South Asians use tea as an herbal medicine rather than a recreational beverage. Some of the Chai masala spice mixtures are still derived from Ayurvedic medical texts.
During the year 1830s, the British East India Company became concerned about the Chinese monopoly on tea, which constituted most of its trade and supported the enormous consumption of tea.
in Great Britain: approximately one pound (by weight) per person per year. British colonists had recently noticed the existence of the Assamese tea plants, and began to cultivate tea plantations locally.
Over 90% of the tea consumed in Great Britain was still of Chinese origin in the year 1870, but by 1900 this had dropped to 10%, largely replaced by tea grown in India (50%) and Ceylon (33%).
However, consumption of tea within India remained low until an aggressive promotional campaign by the (British-owned) Indian Tea Association in the early 20th century, which encouraged factories, mines, and textile mills to provide tea breaks for their workers.
It also supported many independent chai wallahs throughout the growing railway system.During the British Raj, the official promotion of tea was as served with small added amounts of milk and sugar.
The Indian Tea Association initially disapproved of independent vendors' tendency to add spices and greatly increase the proportions of milk and sugar, thus reducing their usage of tea leaves per liquid volume.
However, masala chai in its present form has now firmly established itself as a popular beverage, not just outlasting the British Raj but spreading beyond South Asia to the rest of the world. According to Indian culture, 'Masala' means 'a blend of spices', and 'chai' simply means 'tea.'
So, Masala Chai is literally spiced tea. It is one of our most traditional and treasured Indian drink combines premium Ceylon black tea with warming cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. It’s warm and inviting fragrance, zesty flavor and invigorating, aromatic finish. Suggest two teaspoons per 8 oz cup, boiling water for 7-10 minutes.
Sugar, cream or soy to be added if desired. There are many ways of making the tea but the simplest and the traditional method of preparing masala chai is to simmer or boil a mixture of milk and water with loose tea leaf or powder, sweeteners (sugar) and whole Indian spices. Once it is nicely boiled, the solid tea and spice residues are strained off from masala chai before serving hot.
The method of preparing can vary according to taste or local custom. There is no fixed recipe or preparation for masala chai as many families have their own version and style of making the tea.
For preparing the masala tea, boil two cups of water and all the ingredients (spices) and tea leaves except sugar and milk. Boil for about 30 seconds and allow standing for a minute. In a pot heat the milk., Filter the tea and into cups.
Now add milk and sugar, quantity as desired and masala tea is ready to serve.
To get you on your way for a strong punch and refreshing taste do click the link and get hold of the complete recipe in detail:
Tea or Chai, one of the most popular beverages in India and served anywhere – from street-side vendors to luxurious restaurants. Traditionally, Indians welcome their guests with a cup of Chai. The recipe for preparing the Chai or tea differs from state to state and especially family to family.
The most common ingredients used for flavoring the masala chai or tea are:
Cardamon: Normally green cardamoms are used in making Masala Chai as it has a wonderful flavor which goes perfectly well with tea which can be used in ground form of pods slightly crushed.
Cinnamon: This is another fragrant spice that gives a sweet subtle taste to the Masala Chai.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg has a subtle cinnamon like flavor and is used in powder form.
Ginger: This is a very common ingredient regularly used in mixing in the tea. Fresh ginger is crushed and added to the masala chai which brings out the pungent taste and gives a warming effect. It is a very efficient spice with lots of medicinal properties especially in curing colds and cough.
Cloves: Cloves are not very regularly used in making of Chai as they are very pungent and used in whole form. Normally just 1 or 2 cloves are added to make about 4 cups of Masala chai. Usually the tea leaves (or tea dust) steeps in the hot water boiling long enough to extract intense flavor.
Most of the Chai or teas in India are brewed with strong black tea. A large quantity of sugar may be required to bring out the flavor of the spices. You can use any type of sweetner like plain white sugar, demerara sugar, jaggery (mostly used in rural parts of India) or honey. Whole milk is used for its richness.
Generally, masala chai is made by mixing ¼ to ½ parts milk with water and heating the liquid to near-boiling (or even full boiling). The traditional masala chai is a bracing, strongly spiced beverage brewed with so-called "warm" spices.
Traditionally, cardamom is a dominant note, supplemented by other spices such as cloves, ginger, or black pepper; the latter two add a pleasantly piquant flavor. In India, fresh ginger is often used.
So to make your masala chai get hold of the right spices and the right strong tea leaves or dust which could be of any brands like the Assam, Darjeeling or any other strong tea. Happy brewing!