In India, teas are defined by the regions in which they are grown.
`Chai` is the Hindi word for Tea. Indian tea is full bodied and strong. Known throughout the world and adored by millions. Today Indian teas come in a wide range of flavors and strengths.
To be invited for a cup of tea, to an Indian house, means that not only will you get a cup of tea, but you will be served a plethora of yummy snacks. Indians are well known for their hospitality. So if you get invited for a cup of tea to an Indian house don`t refuse the invitation, go and have a wonderful time.
`Chai making` is a lot of fun. Take the time to make a wonderful cup of Indian tea. Sipping the tea after a great Indian meal and enjoying every sip is time well spent.
Now getting down to the business of making tea. Lets start with the basics.
Things you need:
Tea : you can use either tea bags or loose-leaf tea. But it is important to remember to use plain or non-flavored tea when making Indian tea. Brooke Bond Red label, Tajmahal Black tea, Lipton Green and Red Label Tea are just some of the famous loose-leaf teas from India.
Milk - whole, 2% or skim
Sugar or Sugar Substitute
Tea cup and saucer or Mug / Cup: To enjoy your cup of tea in.
Tea strainer : Used to strain loose leaf tea.
Tea press / squeezer: Used to press tea bags. For maximum flavor, pick up your tea bag with these tongs and squeeze--excess water drips out the holes.
These are the basics. Adding a few spices will make that plain cup of tea into `Masala` tea!
Spices used in making Masala Indian Tea
Some of the common spices that are added to a cup of Indian tea are
Saunf (fennel seeds)
You do not have to add all the spices to make masala chai. Sometimes `Ginger tea` or `Cardamom tea` is a great alternative. Today you will find a ready made `Masala Tea` mixture in many specialty Indian grocery stores. It is found in a powdered form. You use only a pinch at a time.