Incredible India… Chai Masala Tea

14 Nov

This is something I learned in this past trip to India…

Every time you visit a store or for breakfast you get offered tea.  And the tea they refer to is chai masala tea.  This is a tea made already with milk and seasoned with some kind of sugar/sweetener and a blend of spices or masala.

Chai masala 1

The masala blend for the tea is usually a spice mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger and sometimes even peppercorns.

Masala Blend

I am not the tea drinker; Annie Mariel is the tea drinker here.  And the teas I usually drink are mostly herbal (chamomile, spearmint, linden, lemongrass, etc.) to avoid the caffeine in most teas.  But I was intrigued by this chai masala I was being offered all the time.

I loved it… it is traditionally served in these clay cups.  Not to worry, the cups are disposable and used only once.  Even when you get seconds, the cups are never reused.  I was told the cup itself gave some flavor to the tea and that even a second pouring would not taste the same as the first one.  And when I had tea in a paper cup or in a regular china cup, it did not taste the same as that original clay cup.

Drinking Chai      Chai @ Train

The one-time clay cups are also the preferred way to drink lassi, I later learned.  I believe these disposable clay cups are partly the reason why there’s so much dirt flying in the air all the time… Imagine all these clay cups being thrown into the curbside, they get pulverized, the dirt then flies all over the place… you can imagine the picture.

But my love affair with this tea was short-lived…  I wondered why I had not been offered this tea during my first trip if it’s so popular everywhere in India.  The reason??  It has caffeine, and in the line of vegetarianism I practice, we avoid caffeine as it is a stimulant that is not beneficial to a healthy nervous system.

But it is sooooooo good, I am on a mission now to recreate this delicious chai masala tea in a decaffeinated version.   Just stay tuned…  OK?

3 Responses to “Incredible India… Chai Masala Tea”

  1. asha November 25, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    I’m not sure if you know this but in Hindi (the main language of India) “chai” means tea. People in India call the spiced tea drink “masala chai” which literally means “spiced tea” so calling it chai masala tea is in fact calling it “tea spiced tea”!!!!

    • karmafreecooking November 25, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks for the hindi lesson… I will still maintain the word TEA in the name of this post so people looking for stories/posts on tea will find it. Not every one who would like to know about this tea speaks hindi, as you do.

  2. Eva November 27, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    chai means tea in almost every language, doesn’t it? It amuses me if people don’t know.

    This spiced chai is a life saver, isn’t it? It is hard to buy the mix here in Germany, so I took the spices for ginger bread (Lebkuchen) and cooked them in milk. The result was not bad.

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