The arrival of monsoon in India made me write this down specifically, about the hot tea or “garam chai”. Tea basically comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis. It is widely known as “Chai” which translates to “tea” in Hindi in India and globally known as Chai Tea Latte meaning “tea tea with milk”). Tea came to India from China, but was popularised largely by the British, who also disseminated it across the globe during the colonial era. In India, you would come across numerous tea vendors (chai wallahs) preparing this rich Masala Chai over an open fire in small stands and stalls and serving it in clay tea cups (Kullads). You can find them in every nook and corner. Chai is an inexpensive and soothing traditional beverage and you can make it at home. In India, tea forms a part of daily routine in the households. Wherever Indians go the tea follows! It works best in cold weather to give you warmth, I enjoyed it during my stays in Udaipur and Manali in India.
This hot tea is loved by many either as a morning drink or a meet up drink or to pep up to get to work and a go to drink during monsoon times. Interestingly it can be turned into a immunity booster drink to get your daily immunity shot during the pandemic of COVID-19.
To make it more healthy and delicious, in India we add our spices from our rich heritage – masala/ spices box and we call it Masala Chai which not only is an Indian delicacy but offers numerous health benefits as the spices have immune boosting properties.
Well, you can prepare it yourself! Let’s prepare it together! Have a look at the Masala Chai benefits and get your ingredients ready.
What are the health benefits of Indian masala chai?
The spices used in Masala Chai are functional foods with many health benefits such as:
- Ginger is anti-inflammatory relieves aches and pain, improves digestion, reduces nausea and vomiting, prevents ulcers, protects against symptoms of cold and flu, stimulates blood circulation and metabolism and reduces cholesterol.
- Cardamom improves appetite, digestion and provide relief from acidity in the stomach. It is also beneficial to the kidneys and urinary tract system.
- Cloves have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, improves digestion and metabolism, protects against digestive disorders.
- Ginger, clove, and cardamom relax your muscles and nerves, reducing the pain during period cramping in pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Cinnamon also offers anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties. It has LDL cholesterol and blood sugar lowering effects, hence beneficial in Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
- Black Pepper is a powerful anti-oxidant, improves digestion and promotes gut health. It helps in respiratory conditions including colds, coughs, and flu.
- Star Anise aids digestion, alleviates cramps and reduces nausea. It also helps in preventing constipation, supports good sleep, promotes bone and skin health.
Indian Masala Chai Recipe:
- Water:100 ml
- Milk: 100 ml
- Black tea/ loose leaf: 1 ½ teaspoon
- Jaggery Powder: 1 tsp
- Cloves: 1-2
- Cardamom: 1
- Cinnamon: 1/4 stick
- Peppercorns: 2 nos.
- Ginger: grated ¼ tsp
- Star Anise: optional
- Boil ½ cup of water
- Upon boiling add all the light crushed spices and black tea/leaf and boil it for 2 minutes
- Add jaggery and milk, simmer for 2 minutes
- Turn off the heat and strain the masala chai in to the teacup.
So, do use the ingredients mentioned above in your regular tea to make it a complete Indian Masala chai. Do share your experience in the comments below.
Enjoy your cup of masala chai, an Indian cultural experience!
Dr. Monal Velangi