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Ek Cup Chai Ho Jaye ? (Last Part) - By Arnab

Updated on May 12, 2016
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Arnab is a hobby cook and food enthusiast who enjoys sharing his recipes and experiences with the world. Arnab focuses on Indian food

Why drink tea?

Having lived in the tea capital of India, it has been a nice transition to the coffee capital of the United states. While coffee is delicious and has it’s obvious merits, I’m going to make a case for tea over coffee. A typical cup of tea has 3 times less caffeine than coffee. There is a myth that tea contains more caffeine than coffee which is only true in their dry form. When brewed however, 5 times more coffee is used than tea which causes the caffeine level brewed coffee to be higher than tea.

Besides caffeine, tea also contains L-theanine an amino acid that promotes relaxation and reduces stress. High amount of antioxidants in tea causes slower caffeine absorption in human body. Together a drink of tea does not cause the caffeine shock sometimes experienced by coffee drinkers. Many people find they can even have it in the evening without disturbing sleep.

How is chai served in India

Throughout India chai is served on the street and on public transportation by tea vendors or “chai wallahs”. There are tea stalls in almost every traditional neighborhood of India. Chai is also served at home during breakfast and throughout the day. It is served to guests as a welcome drink with other savoury and sweet snacks.

Traditionally the tea stalls in India used to serve tea in “khullad” (pronounced “cooler”) a baked clay cup which adds an odor of clay that brings an earthy flavor to the chai. Besides adding the additional flavor, these cups are completely biodegradable and can be reused a few times if desired. The advent of cheap plastic and glass alternatives and the fragile nature of these cups is leading to a decline in their use. In fact Kolkata is the only city you’ll see khullads in regular use.

Collage of chai as served in India
Collage of chai as served in India

Chai Recipe

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 17 min
Yields: Serves 2 people

Chai Ingredients

  • 1 cup Milk, Whole, Skimmed or Soy
  • 2 Tablespoon Assam CTC Tea
  • 3/4 inch Ginger
  • 4 Cardamom Pods
  • Add per taste Sugar, Cinnamon, Cloves, Bay Leaves, Black Pepper
Most commonly found CTC lean teas in Indian Stores across US
Most commonly found CTC lean teas in Indian Stores across US

Steps

  1. Prep Spices - Cut ginger into small pieces and crush them with mortar and pestle. Crack cardamom with mortar and pestle. No need to prep any of the other spices
  2. Add a cup of water and then a cup of milk to a pan and bring to boil. Stir occasionally
  3. Add tea to boiling milk and simmer for 2 minutes
  4. Add ginger, cardamom and any other spices. The milk will begin taking on a tannish coloration. The longer you boil the stronger the tea flavor will be. Typically, you will stop at a light-to-medium tan color, somewhere close to light chocolate milk. This usually takes around 2-5 minutes
  5. Place the tea strainer over the coffee cup, tilt the pot over the cup and strainer and pour. Discard the tea leaves and spice chunks in the trash or compost.
  6. Add sugar if needed. Serve with something savoury

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