Masala chai (tea) is a very famous drink in India. Here masala means a mixture of various aromatic spices. Chai means (you already understood even if you are not an Indian) tea. During rainy season & winter, people generally prefer this masala chai than anything else. The moments spent with friends & relatives when you are having a cup of masala tea & snacks and it is raining outside are something that everybody expects in his life.
But as you can not drink it cold rather you will like this when it is too hot or warm. Not only that, it gives instant energy and you will feel warm after having a cup of masala chai (tea). So generally people avoid this in summer or consume less masala tea. But if you are under a shade & mild wind is blowing or working in an air-conditioned room then you can also enjoy this drink in summer.
Tea culture in India
India has a centuries-long history of tea tradition. It is popular across the country but masala chai tea is more common in Northern Indian states as compared with other Indian states. India has a tradition to offer tea to their guests. Almost every people in this country (except a few health-conscious people) start a day with a cup of tea. Some people evening prefer to have high tea. An evening with a cup of tea & snacks (samosa, pakoda etc) is symbolized like the end of the day or end of hard work, haha.
Tea is prepared with the various methods in this country. Various parts of the country follow different methods. some methods are popular in a particular area. In Eastern Indian states like West Bengal, masala chai is not that much popular, where people prefer red tea (lal chai) instead of that spicy tea. Lemon tea is also popular in West Bengal. Some people also prefer extra liquor black tea without milk. That type of black tea is a little bitter in taste and I never like such tea. During the summer, many people also like iced tea instead of a cup of hot tea. Many health-conscious people also prefer green tea or herbal tea over normal tea with milk.
Did you ever hear about Irani chai? No, you do not need to go to Iran for having this. This Irani chai is very popular in Hyderabad. You can say this Hyderabadi Irani chai. It is very famous and unique in taste. You will definitely enjoy such tea.
India’s tea tradition is hundreds of years old. It is the second largest producer of tea in the world and the biggest tea consumer in the world. It is said that the Hindi word chai came from the Mandarin word cha (tea in Chinese). Tea is commonly known as chaaha in Marathi and chaa in Bengali. Assam & Darjeeling district of West Bengal are two major tea leaves producing regions. Tea is also a state drink in Assam.
Tea, chai-walas & India
Tea stall and chai wala are very common in the country. If you are travelling by train then you will see a lot of roaming tea sellers on the train as well as at every station. Mostly they are selling masala chai tea. Some people may sell rec tea or lemon tea too. But masala chai tea is a common type of tea.
I can still remember there was a roadside tea stall near PulBangash metro station, Delhi. The stall was just outside the metro station on the road toward Roshonara bagh. I often used to have masala chai tea when I was posted at Kamlanagar. That chai was my favorite and I used to start my day after having a cup of tea from there.
What is masala chai (tea)
Okay, now coming to this masala chai tea. Many people add various spices & herbs to make their tea best and unique. Some people add fewer spices and add extra cream to make it special whereas some people add fennel seeds to make it different. Some tea sellers only use cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. There are some tea sellers who use only milk (without any water) whereas some people add both milk & water and keep the price low.
But once you will make it only for you then you will definitely make it according to your taste only. Is it not true. That is why I avoid fennel to make masala chai because I hate flavor of fennel in my tea.
Masala chai (tea) recipe
- 1.5 teaspoons tea leaves powder
- 2.5 cups milk
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- Boil milk in a kettle/tea making pot
- Now grind all spices in a traditional mortar pestle
- Add all crushed spices to boiling milk and reduce the flame and allow it to boil for next 3-4 minutes
- Now add tea leaves powder and boil for another 4-5 minutes
- Then strain tea and pour the liquor into the cups & serve