Round the street corner, in a buzzling mall, amidst schools and offices, you will always find that one tea shop where people gather to have a break. Tea is the centre of any community living and chai in India is a real love.
The '"chai" you find in nearly any street or shop today dates back to thousands of years. Once the drink of royalty, masala chai or spiced tea is the drink of the common man. It was revered as an herbal medicine, today the ancient tea is an everyday drink of almost all households.
How it all began
As per history, tea entered India as the beverage of royalty. The ancient kings used it as a cleansing and energizing drink. Adding spices to beverages was also a very royal thing to do. The tea was mainly used as remedy for minor ailments.
As much as the tea is revered and consumed, it was not a native beverage to the country. It was brought here by the Britishers who set up plantations in Assam. The newly introduced black tea over a period of time became the masala chai, complete with the addition of the spices of the land. It was not widely consumed as it was expensive and was mostly used for exporting.
Tea consumption improved only in the 1900s as the tea associations wanted to market the beverage to the local people. It was still expensive but was made attractive by addition of a myriad of flavours through the spices and of course milk and sugar. There began the love story of the chai in India. In fifty years, tea production was mechanized and various forms of tea such as CTC came into picture which made tea affordable for the masses. The popularity increased and Indians started falling in love with the bold flavours along with the spicy and sweet notes from the spices. There began the custom of welcoming guests with tea and the selling of tea in street corners.
The fame of the Indian masala chai became known worldwide. The Indian chai was sweetened with sugar and spiced up with local spices. The essential ingredient of course is whole milk though there are different variations that exist around the globe. Back tea with milk and sugar lends the authentic Indian chai experience.
In India, the locals love to brew the tea from scratch. Boiling the spices in water along with fresh pieces of ginger and then adding tea powder whilst finishing it with a splash of whole milk and sugar is a sacred ritual in most households. Tea will always have a special place in India!
Kadha: An Ayurvedic Immunity Booster
Kadha – The drink of the new decade! Though kadha has been an essential part of the India kitchen, it has risen to prominence at the dawning of the new decade because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it is well known as an immunity booster and has been consumed in India since time immemorial.
There are a hundred ways to brew this drink depending on which part of India it is made in. The most essential ingredients are the spices that are easily available in the kitchen. It is a good remedy for cold and other flu-related sicknesses. It can easily be made as a part of our daily diet and is recommended to be had early in the morning.
Cloves, pepper, Tulsi (Indian Basil), Turmeric, Honey, Ginger are some of the widely used ingredients of kadha. Pepper and clove are expectorants which are used to treat coughs while the other ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties.
The number one rule of making a kadha drink is using fresh ingredients be it ginger, turmeric or Tulsi. All the main ingredients are freshly sliced and slow roasted in a saucepan, then water is brought to a boil to which the roasted ingredients are added. The concoction is boiled for more than five minutes and then strained. It is sweetened with honey and is recommended to be consumed immediately.
When kadha is consume piping hot, it soothes the throat and relieves one of itching and irritation which is so common with flu. This is not only an immunity boosting beverage but also a drink that improves your skin.
Kadha is now not just used in households but also recommended by health professionals. It is not uncommon to come across this drink at cafes and spas too.
Many people consume kadha religiously during winters while some follow the same recipes for generations in their families.
Kadha, also known as the healing tea in India is famous for its innumerable health benefits. It is known to relax the entire body, regulate the body temperature and reduce inflammation of the joints. It is also used as detoxifying drink which is why it is served in spas. It also assists in digestion. Many people take kadha when they have stomach ailments or while experiencing nausea. No wonder it is used in many alternative forms of medicine. The kadha is truly is a beverage with a plethora of health benefits!