An Indian chai tea recipe tells more than just merely a process of how to prepare the drink and what the ingredients you need are, it also – when you look closely – gives you an idea about the people and time when the drink was invented.
Before the “chai” was able to make its way to our favorite coffee shops and to numerous households all over the world, its origin dates back not hundreds, but rather thousand years ago. The ancient spiced tea actually stemmed from being used as a drink for the royalty and as a medicinal drink. It then went the natural course of evolution as it was passed from several cultures but it is agreed that it really came from South Asia before it found its way to the soils of America.
Indian Chai Tea Recipe Tells History between The Lines
Indian Chai in Ancient Times
According to some records in history, the masala chai – the tea’s ancient name – was created about nine thousand years ago in land that is now known as the country of India. Other historians however, argue that the chai actually originated in Thailand; yet one common agreeable point apart from the place it came from is the belief that the tea was made to be used as a cleansing drink – for health purposes.
During this time, the spiced tea was prepared in many several methods that involved the use of a wide array of spices and is served either warm or cold; also, what is interesting to know is that in this early life of the masala tea in fact did not need the use of actual tea leaves.
Black Tea Gave the Chai a New Twist
Only when the British established tea plantations in the province of Assam in India in 1835, did the masala chai take its form as the drink that we know today. The black tea leaves that were coming from the plantations was subtly introduced and included to what used to be the traditional Indian chai tea recipe. Henceforth, the humble drink transformed into something more palatable for the British that included some sweetener, dairy, spices and of course, the tea leaves. However, this new form of the chai did not gain a lot of audience from the people of India since the leaves are not locally available and was intended for export.
The Birth of the Modern Indian Chai Tea
It was only in the early years of the 1900’s when the Indian chai’s popularity started to take of in India. This is when the Indian Tea Association (owned by the British) started to promote the consumption of tea within the country. The black tea leaves were still meant for export and its price remained high; but the Indians got creative in cutting down on the costs of other ingredients like milk and sweetener to compensate for the black tea.
Today, the spiced tea – from its humble beginnings – have crossed oceans and conquered countless coffee shops around the world and continues to be a staple drink in a lot of places in India. Also, while the spiced tea already witnessed a lot of changing in the tides of time continues to be very dynamic; countless versions of an Indian chai tea recipe are still being made by many people who look to tailor the taste according to their own personal liking or their interpretation of the authentic recipe.
Indian Chai Tea Recipe – As Diverse as the World’s Culture
Recipes for an Indian chai tea have many different interpretations; some try to be as close as the authentic way of brewing the tea, while there are others that somehow deviated to the original method to personalize the drink according to their palate.
A Simple Yet Traditional Indian Chai Tea Recipe
For this recipe, you will need the following:
- Some black tea (Tajmahal orMamri)
- Some cloves, cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, whole black peppers corns and cardomon pods
- Half and half milk
- Some whitle khas-khas and soanph (both are optional)
Note: You can check your local American-Indian stores for these ingredients of check online.
To prepare the chai, you must first place about ¾ cups of water and the milk on a pot over medium heat. Put all your spices on a sheet of paper and crush them together thoroughly to make sure all the flavors come out. Once you have made sure that the spices are crushed, place them all together into the water and milk mixture. Keep the mixture on the heat for about fifteen minutes – stirring occasionally – to make sure all the taste and flavors are blended. At this point you can already add some sugar depending on how sweet you want the tea to be.
When serving, make sure to use a strainer to separate the spices from the drink. Enjoy.
Instant Indian Chai Tea Recipe You Can Do at Home
For this quick and very simple recipe, you will the following ingredients:
- A couple of cups of water
- 4 black tea bags
- A couple of cups of milk
- Two tablespoons of honey
- Half a teapoon of crushed ginger
- Half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder
- About ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
Making the tea is quite simple. Bring the water to a boil and put in the tea bags. Reduce the heat once the tea bags are in and let the mixture simmer for about two minutes. After a couple of minutes, remove the tea bags from the pot and put the rest of the ingredients giving the mixture a good stir. Drain the tea to get rid of the spices and serve.
What an Indian Chai Tea Recipe Won’t Tell you
Making your very own Indian Chai can either be simple or complicated; whichever direction you choose is really a matter of preference. However, there is nothing more rewarding that actually going through all the trouble to get the taste of the real thing; a word of caution though, if you choose to go traditional, remember that there are no short-cuts in the process and that only the freshest ingredients should be used. These are practical pointers that ought to be remembered that an Indian chai tea recipe won’t mention because it ought to be common sense.
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