Different Styles of Chai Preparation in India
India is a diverse land, with many languages, religions and cultures. Even geographically and climatically, the land is very diverse.
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India is a diverse land, with many languages, religions and cultures. Even geographically and climatically, land is very diverse. Each region explores a mix of cultural migration due to business or personal reasons. The migrants bring indulge in exploring the local cuisine while also making their own recipes. The recipe of tea has also undergone such fusions, and transference owing to migrations and local culture.
When tea first came to India through the British East India Co., the common understanding was that the British had their tea with milk and sugar. While production of tea was well established in British India, the consumption was later done as a campaign by Indian Tea Company that introduced tea breaks in factories and offices, encouraging chaiwallahs outside to sell teas in the British way, with milk and sugar. However, it was the chaiwallahs that added large quantities of milk and spices to the concoction- giving way to today’s chai recipe. A lot of Indian versions are prepared without milk as well. Here are some of the most popular tea preparations in India.
This one is perhaps the most popular Indian tea preparation. It is made using a mix of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, fennel seeds, black peppercorn, etc, together with milk, CTC black tea and to the liquor sugar or jaggery is added
Ginger or adrak Chai
This one is a common household preparation of tea in India, especially during winters or when you are down with a cold and cough as ginger carried medicinal properties. It is prepared like a regular chai tea with the addition of ginger. This is very popular in the northern regions that experience cold climate conditions.
Cardamom or Elaichi Chai
This was a popular one, in the Southern regions of India that experience hot climate conditions and also grows cardamom extensively. It is the milk chai preparation with the addition of cardamom.
This chai preparation is a simple one with cardamom, lemon and tea leave brewed in water that is sweetened with palm jaggery.
Noon Chai also called sheer chai (Persian for milk tea) is popularly known as pink tea, gulabi chai is a Kashmiri preparation of milk tea. It is made with milk, gunpowder green tea leaves, salt and baking soda. The baking soda lends the pink colour to the tea.
A popular tea in West Bengal and lembu is lemon in Bengali. Hence, here originated an Indian version of British lemon tea.
This chai is made with milk, CTC black tea, water and Tulsi and sweetened with palm jaggery. This one is a popular household recipe as it carries medicinal properties and is generally good for the body across seasons.
This liquor tea is a popular one in Assam, locally called as lal cha, because of the liquor colour being red.
Po Cha - Tibetan Butter Tea
This tea is from the Himalayan region, particularly popular in Tibet. It is made by boiling a brick of Pemagul black tea for hours. From there, milk, salt, and yak butter are added, and the mixture is then churned together.
Kashmiri kahwa or kehwa is a popular green tea preparation from the valley of Kashmir. It is made with the addition of saffron strands, cardamom, cinnamon and other dried fruits.
Bombay Cutting Chai
This is a street style preparation of chai, famous in Bombay and served in small glass tumblers, that are half of the regular teacup. Hence, the name cutting. The tea is prepared like a regular chai tea, only stronger.