Masala Chai - India’s Timeless Beverage

Masala chai

The word "Chai" itself soothes millions of Tea lovers or "Chai Shaukins" at any time in a day.

For me, two cups of Masala Chai is no less than a necessity. Be it a lazy morning at home, or a busy day at work- a hot cup of Masala Chai cures it all.

Chai is not just a beverage to start your day with; it is a true companion in winter mornings, rainy evenings and to take a break from office working hours.

Milk tea is very popular in India


If you ask people about their monsoon memories – there is a chance that most of them will tell stories about how they enjoyed Chai and pakoras at some hill station.

 

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Brief History of Tea Culture in India:

The word 'Chai' originally comes from the word ‘Cha’ which is the Chinese word for tea.

The tea was brought to India by the British in the 19th century. The East India Company managed to smuggle it from China, which was bred with Assam local plants. The cold climate of North-East India helped the cultivation of tea.

When the British wanted to promote tea in India, they brew the tea with milk, spices and sugar to make it flavourful . In the early 1900s, tea was consumed by upper- and middle-class Indians.

In 1960's, after the advent of the CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) process of tea production, it became affordable for the rest of the domestic market. This bold and tannic black tea became a hit in India. Since then, CTC has become a staple for the Indian Masala chai.

Now, India stands on second place in the world to produce tea. Indians consume about 837,000 tonnes of tea every year, making it the country's most popular and beloved beverage.

Chai walas or tea stalls are an important part of Indian street landscapes. People, rich and poor alike enjoying Chai on any hustling street is a common sight. In many places they are served in Kullahrs – earthen teacups.

 

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Indian Masala Chai Recipe

Masala chai is incomplete without spices. Although 'adrak chai' or ginger masala chai is most common in India, there are other spices that you can add to your black tea.

Here is another recipe you can make for serving 2 cups of masala chai.

Ingredients needed:

  1. 1 cup of water
  2. 1 cup of Milk
  3. CTC tea - 1 ½ teaspoon
  4. Sweetener of choice (Sugar / Jaggery / Honey)
  5. Black Pepper: 3-4 (optional)
  6. Ginger: 2 slices or crushed
  7. Lemongrass

How to prepare

  1. Lightly crush a bay leaf, ginger, Lemongrass, and peppercorn and add in boiling water
  2. Add CTC tea and boil it for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add sweetener and milk
  4. Bring it to simmer twice or more
  5.  Turn off the heat and voila!

Your Masala Chai is ready!

Health Benefits of Masala Chai

Many people think green tea is beneficial and Chai is not. The Masala chai with the spices mentioned above can help your health in multiple ways.

Woman drinking masala chai

The spices used in this masala chai are also known in Ayurveda for their health benefits.

1. Bay leaf is known to aid digestion, relieve common cold, and prevent food poisoning bacteria. It also improves insulin function and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Bay leaf is therefore known as a super-spice for its numerous health benefits.

2. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. It improves digestion and is known to protect from common cold and flu. It stimulates blood circulation and reduces blood cholesterol by improving liver function.

3. Black Pepper is an anti-oxidant. It helps digestion and improves intestinal health.

4. Lemongrass is aromatic grass for food, mood and healing. It is a herb with many uses and benefits. It acts as an antiseptic and antifungal and antibacterial agent. It helps in detoxing the body and relaxes muscles and pain. It also helps in improving the immune system.

Adding these ingredients in your regular tea will make it more flavorful and beneficial.

Zizira has made it easier for everyone to make the masala chai. Our 'Classic Masala Chai' is a perfect blend of CTC tea, lemongrass, bay leaf, ginger, and black pepper. This is perfect because you do not have to worry about the number of spices to add.



The other health benefits you can get from drinking masala chai are:

  1. Improves digestion
    The spices in Masala chai keep your gut healthy. It helps digestion by improving circulation.
  2. Improves Immunity
    Spices also help in improving the immune system. There is nothing like a masala tea to get immediate relief while having a common cold and cough.
  3. Relieves Aches and Pains
    Ginger used in Masala chai have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate the pain or aches.
  4. Reduces Nausea
    Masala Chai helps in soothing an upset stomach and alleviates stomach pain due to nausea.
  5. Boosts Energy
    Masala chai has caffeine, which helps in boosting energy. This makes the Chai perfect to start your day or after a hard day’s work.

The Tea Culture Continues…

Chai is the perfect companion on a good day or bad day, winter mornings or summer evenings, reconnecting with old friends or breaking the ice with new ones, welcoming the guests at home or hosting high-tea at work – you name the situation and tea fits there perfectly. No matter how this drink got introduced to our culture, the transition of "Tea" to our own "Masala Chai" has worked out for the best!

 

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