Masala Chai – One Beverage That Is The Hero Of Monsoons & India’s Favourite!

By Dikshita Nahar

Gentle drops of water running down the windows, enjoying the petrichor & soaking in all the good vibes is what monsoons are all about and in India, what better accompaniment for this soothing weather than that of masala chai? Masala Chai is the undisputed king of monsoons. Sweet, creamy and filled with spices – Masala Chai is all you need to cosy up & get yourself through the monsoon blues. Apart from the cosy weather and beautiful views, the monsoon is thoroughly enjoyed as we are treated with masala chai at every waking hour during monsoons in India. Be it early morning or night, one can never say no to a cup of masala chai. The complete experience of a cup of chai during monsoons is incomplete without a plate of steaming hot pakoras. It is the most perfect and the most satisfying monsoon meal imaginable to humankind. Don’t you agree? In India, monsoons are all about the simple, cozy pleasures and treats such as masala chai and pakoras. This is how we love welcoming monsoons in India – a country that drinks about 8,37,000 tonnes of tea every year.

History Of Masala Chai

Let’s look at the history and origin of this undisputed hero – Masala Chai. The earliest variant closest to masala chai can be seen in the origins of the traditional Kadha, which was mostly used for its ayurvedic medicinal purposes and is quite different from the tea we consume on a daily basis. Kadha is made with a blend of spices whereas masala chai is made by brewing tea leaves with milk and spices. 

There are multiple legends and stories that bring forth the origins of masala chai. One such story is where a Buddhist monk on his way to China, chewed on a few wild leaves and was imbued with a revived sense of energy. It is also believed that the brewed concoction was a brainchild of ancient King Harshavardhana, who developed it to remain alert through the long courtly affairs. Tea experts and historians convey that the development of adding milk to brewed tea, by travelers and traders mostly hailing from Bengal and Gujarat, who had a better access to spices and good quality milk. The spices were added to give milk a flavor, this concoction was more of a post breakfast drink, but with the British popularization of the beverage, it soon became the go-to drink for everyone till date.

Back in the early 1900’s when the Indian Tea Association was promoting Indian tea consumption with full fervor, the tea leaves were the most expensive ingredient in the beverage. As it was expensive, the vendors often used the leftover tea leaves as it was cheaper. Therefore, to make their beverage more flavorful and to be able to use the leftover tea leaves, vendors started combining milk sugar and spices to give their beverage the much needed flavor, while keeping the costs low. Thus the popularity of both chai and masala chai grew.

Benefits Of Masala Chai

Whenever you want to feel the comfort of our mom’s hug in a cup, the one thing that instantly fills that void is Masala Chai. Every Indian’s one true love and a magic potion that fills your heart with nostalgia and mom’s magic, Masala Chai is not just some tea but rather an emotion on which a nation runs. One’s day is almost incomplete without a cup of Masala Chai and on rainy days, there is no better company than a hot cup of Masala chai and a book. With every sip of the authentic masala chai, you’ll not only feel closer to home but also enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. Blended carefully with finest spices like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon, this blend is every tea lover’s delight. The anti-inflammatory properties of spices in masala chai prevent colds and nasal congestion. Immunity-boosting clove and ginger will also help you keep a cough away. It is indeed an elixir of sorts and is quite therapeutic. Masala Chai is best had piping hot, with a dash of milk and a crisp biscuit to dunk into it, for a full blown experience.

How To Make Masala Chai At Home:

Now that we have travelled through the history and love for Masala Chai, let’s look at how to brew a perfect cup of this brew with pakoras to enjoy monsoons.

Ingredients

Method

Pour the water in a saucepan at medium flame. Add sugar according to taste and masala chai leaves. Stir the tea occasionally. Once the tea starts boiling, add milk and simmer the flame. Remove once it starts boiling. Cover the lid for about a minute until the brew becomes stronger. Serve and enjoy with pakoras.

How To Make Pakoras At Home:

Ingredients

  • 2 sliced medium sized onions
  • 1 cup of chickpea flour
  • 1 finely chopped green chilli
  • ¼ tbsp of turmeric powder
  • ½ tbsp finely ground carom seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to fry
  • ½ tbsp of garam masala
  • Water to mix
  • ½ tbsp of Asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tbsp of chopped coriander leave, fresh

Method

Toss the onions, coriander leaves, and chopped chillies in a large bowl. Add the spices and salt. Mix well. Add water and chickpea flour to prepare a smooth, thick batter. Heat the oil in a pan and add 1 tbsp of batter to make the pakoras. Continue to fry until they are golden brown. Serve with chai.

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