(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
Tea is a beverage made by steeping processed leaves, buds, or twigs of the tea bush (Camellia sinensis) in hot water for a few minutes. The processing can include oxidation (fermentation), heating, drying, and the addition of other herbs, flowers, spices, and fruits. `Chai` is the Hindi word for Tea. Indian tea is full bodied and strong. Known throughout the world and adored by millions. Today Indian tea come in a wide range of flavors and strengths. In India, teas are defined by the regions in which they are grown i.e. Darjeeling Tea, Assam Tea and Nilgiri Tea.
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.
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 flavour, 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!
Some of the common spices that are added to a cup of Indian tea are Ginger ,
Cardamom ,Cinnamon ,Cloves ,Black peppercorn ,Khus-khus ,Saunf (fennel seeds) etc.
You do not have to add all the spices to make masala chai. Sometimes `Ginger tea` or `Cardamom tea` is a great alternative.
1 ½ cups water
2/3rd cup whole milk
6 tsp. sugar (or to taste)
3 teaspoons any un-perfumed loose black tea or
4 single tea bags (Lipton)
1/4th teaspoon Masala Tea mixture
A 2` piece of fresh ginger
A pinch of Cardamom powder
1. Put 1-1/2 cups water in saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Add the masala tea spice mixture. Let it boil for a minute.
3. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again.
4. You may avoid adding the sugar and add a sweetener in the end while serving.
5. Throw in the tea leaves or bags. The tea mixture will rise and many spill over the top, so be aware and remove from the heat (electric stove) or turn off the heat (gas stove). Let it sit for 2 minutes.
6. Strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately. Sip and enjoy!
Make the same recipe without the masala tea spice mixture for a wonderful cup of plain Indian tea. This traditional recipe is used by many. There are many that like to use half-and-half instead of whole milk. They say that no other milk can be substituted, if you really want the taste of `real chai`. But, if you are a tea lover and want tea twice a day, then you can always use 2% or even skim milk.
Uses of tea
Natural Hair Conditioner
Boil water. When the water starts to boil, add tea leaves/bags. Remove from the stove. Strain immediately. This will make a weak infusion of tea. Cool this weak tea. Rinse hair with this mild tea infusion. Leave to dry. Rinse with water. Hair will turn shiny.
Dab a cold, used tea-bag, on the skin. Leave to dry. With regular use your skin should have a healthy glow.
Getting rid of black rings under your eyes
Place a cold, used tea-bag, on each eye daily. Relax and watch the difference after a few weeks.
Natural agent for aiding in curing Cancer Cardiovascular disease
Scientific discoveries suggest that tea has Flavnoids, an antioxidant that combats free radicals in the body responsible for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
As a cure for Arthritis
According to the scientisists at Case Western University in Cleaveland `Tea contains compounds that may help reduce inflammation and help arthritis. Scientists took two groups of mice and gave them injections of a substance that causes immune reactions similar to those due to rheumatoid arthritis. One group had regular water to drink and the other got water laced with polyphenols, chemicals found in green tea and, to a lesser extent in black tea. Nearly all the mice that drank regular water got arthritis-like symptoms, compared to less than half of the treated mice.