We all know that Indians love their chai (tea); the special way it’s prepared in the country. Why? Chai in India is entrenched in the culture, it’s a legacy left behind by the British. I wonder why drinking chai is imperative, not only why it’s a part of the culture. If we talk about any time of the day, you can find Indians sipping hot chai-in the sweltering heat too. The British left India but the culture of drinking tea did not. Tea is one of the oldest drinks in history. Chai is most popular drink across the subcontinent; not only because of the culture, but also because it’s affordable for even the poorest of people. India consumes a whopping 837,000 tones of tea every year! Now the consumption has increased and no records can be traced.
I am fascinated with the word- chai – and hence found that the word used back then was not for the black milk tea we drink today, but for healing concoction made by brewing herbs and spices, much like the traditional kada. Further studies showed that, earlier chai did not contain tea leaves and the recipe also differed according to the season and availability of ingredients. So, by now we got to know that there’s a huge difference between chai and kada. Chai uses herbs and spices associated more with aroma and kada uses herbs, leaves and flowers mainly for their medicinal properties.
There are many stories on the development of the chai but no one knows for sure as to which story is real and which one to believe.
Tea is grown in India: it’s a major export from regions like Darjeeling so the locals don’t pay import fees. Some even have their own family business. Chai preparations differ from region to region where the ingredients used are also different. I often question myself as to which tea is the best for drinking while also providing good health benefits and so, found that every region has it’s own chai and hence all of them have their own flavour with their own set of herbs and spices grown in that region which help in many ways . If we look at various types of tea, they can be categorized according to region;
Dooars and Terai
I am a traveler and living in the capital city of India makes me proud because of the culinary culture. I love chai because it’s ecisted for generations and so it has been passed on to the new generation. Chai is a delightful and tasty treat. It has many variants such as masala, adraki, cutting, elachi, tulsi, kashmiri kava and Sulaimani chai (kattanchaya). Delhi has many tapris (road side stalls) and tea cafes as well.
I looked for a percentage of tea drinkers and found that 88% of the people in India love their tea and hence this made me curious to know more about the number of times people drink tea in a day. An average of 4 to 5 cups in a day are consumed. After talking to people and finding out more about the number of cups they preferred, the answer was not more than 3 cups per day but, as they loved drinking tea and wanted easily consumable desserts to go with the flavour of their tea.
As I am a baker and love experimenting with new ingredients and flavours, I thought of Indian chai as a flavour for my new invention. I have rarely seen Indian tea used in bakery desserts. Many people in India want to consume tea but don’t have the time so, my new invention in dessert can make it easy for those people who are in a rush. Stay tuned to find out what this new recipe looks like!