Flavourful and aromatic, masala chai has a staunch following around the world.
If you think Indians take their kaapi very seriously, you should know that masala chai too has a room of its own in their heart. So much so that families have their own recipes and traditions when it comes to masala chai.
While this beverage is perfect for the winters, it is a common presence in many households throughout the year.
What is Masala Chai?
Also called spiced tea in other parts of the world, masala chai is nothing but black tea (usually from Assam) brewed with milk, sweetener, and herbs & spices.
It is a beverage that originated in India. Legends say that masala chai came to be during the reign of a monarch several thousand years ago when it was created as an Ayurvedic blend. It’s prized for its medicinal properties, and healers in court would often brew it for the royal family.
There’s no hard and fast rule about what spices must be added to make masala chai. People tend to follow a recipe that suits their tastes.
Some of the most common additions to the chai are cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and bay leaves. But you’ll also find masala chai with cloves, peppercorns, and star anise.
You can either make a tea blend at home from scratch or if you prefer, try out the products that are available in the market. These pre-made masala chai packs have different combinations of spices, so you’ll surely find something that you'd like.
How masala chai is different from karak chai is that karak chai refers to black tea that is brewed to be extra strong with an additional dose of tea leaves. It doesn’t necessarily have as many spices in it as masala chai does.
However, some karak teas are made just like masala chai with many spices to give it that extra punch.
Benefits of Masala Chai
Masala chai is known to have several health benefits. This is largely because of the spices and herbs in it, which have their own healing properties.
Firstly, the cinnamon and clove in it boost immunity. Both these ingredients help strengthen your defences against infections, making them some of the best staple items that you must have in your pantry.
Secondly, masala chai energises you. Black teas have a significant percentage of caffeine, which can give you the right boost of energy during low energy spells in the day.
That said, be careful of how much masala chai you consume in a small period of time, especially if certain spices or the caffeine in it affects your well-being.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of masala chai aid in lowering impurities in your body. They also reduce inflammation and help with maintaining cholesterol levels. Many people swear by the soothing effects that masala chai has when you have nasal congestion or a cold.
While the authentic recipe calls for adding milk and some sweetener to it, if you are searching for a healthier version of masala chai, there’s no reason you can’t drink it without milk.
Such a version of masala chai is not just packed with nutrition but also is low in calories and has very little fat quotient in it.
In several countries, masala chai is often served as a cold brew. This may be considerably different from the original drink but it does appeal to different people.
If you’ve been intending to try out masala chai, take a look at some of the rich tea blends available at our online store, each of which has a distinct composition of Indian spices.
Let us know what your magic recipe is for the perfect masala chai!