Masala chai is an integral part of India's tea time.
Did you think tea time was only popular in England? Well think again! Tea is a popular social event in India. And why wouldn’t it be? India is the world’s largest producer, exporter and consumer of tea. The Indian Tea Time menu is a high tea (a fairly substantial meal) but in today’s world it can be made into a dinner and an excellent menu for entertaining. What’s on the menu? See for yourself!
Indian Tea Time Menu
Chutney/Cucumber Sandwiches-Thin slices of tomato and cucumber with a spread of cilantro-mint-ginger chutney on sliced bread.
Bhel-Phuri – (Mix 2 boiled and mashed Potatoes , 1 finely chopped cucumber, 2 finely cut tomatoes and 1 minced onion with a pack of Bhel Mix (crispy rice, sev or chickpea noodles). Pour 3 to 4 table spoons of raisin chutney and 1 to 2 tablespoons of mint chutney to the above mixture. Mix well. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve. – a meal in itself.)
Masala Chai – (tea infused with spices, fresh ginger and served with milk and sugar).
Gujarati Farsan or Namkeen – Crispy spicy snack made of rice, chickpea dough and nuts.
Kheer – Indian rice pudding
Have your own Indian tea time by making your own Masala Chai! Here’s a basic recipe for your drinking pleasure:
Water by 2/3 cup per person
Milk (whole or skim) by 2/3 cup per person
1½ cups Dried tea leaves (or tea powder) 1.5 tsp. for first person and then 1 tsp. per person. More than 5 persons reduce per person tea to 3/4 tsp. Brooke Bond Red label, Mamri, or Taj Mahal Black tea [do not use green tea) For gourmet chai use Assam Tea Leaves. These variety of Teas may be ordered from http://www.indianfoodsco.com. Sugar to taste.
1. Boil the water in a saucepan.
2. Add the tea spices by a pinch per person or whole spices as explained above. More if you want it more robust in spices. Experiment for personal taste.
3. Add the tea leaves.
4. When the concoction starts boiling, Add milk.
5. Boil for about a minute.
6. Strain the tea into the cups.
7. Remove strainer add sweetener as per taste and stir the tea well.
Spices for the tea above per cup or per person
Add a 1/4 inch piece of ginger, crushed with a mallet
1 cardamom pod, crushed in a mortar
1/4 inch cinnamon stick
2 whole black peppers – crushed in a mortar
1 small pinch of fennel
1 strand of saffron
1 pinch of ginger powder
1 pinch of dried mint
Photo and information resources: SBS Feast and Indian Food Co.