Chaivanists can't be any prouder, Cheers to themJul 25, 2018
When our very own nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, who initially shot into prominence with Kareena Kapoor in her client list and has since then set new goals in the health forums, gave a thumbs up the ubiquitous cup of Indian masala tea, it is indeed time for Indians to sit back and smile gleefully, basking in the ‘I told you so’ moment.
Our humble cup of chai has never been a diluted watery beverage soaked in green leaves. It is a blissful experience which is best-cherished in the hands of our mothers and grandmothers with distinctive recipe indigenous to each family kitchen. It is the hallmark of a culinary expert to be able to brew that perfect cup of masala chai with its aromatic blend of Indian spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves brewed directly in milk with the tea leaves and that optimum level of sweetness.
Its modest origin notwithstanding, today this aromatic blend of infused spice has taken over the world globally and can be found in tea houses and coffee shops spread across continents. Though Indian households depend on their own handmade blend of spices, individually designed as per the preference of each family, to make that heady concoction, market demand has ensured that the standard readymade Chai Masala which can be used to prepare the instant version is readily available in most national and international markets.
The very fact that this cup of Indian masala tea finds its mention in the pages of Ayurveda and once regarded as a herbal medicine, with ability to cure to a range of ailments, speak volumes about its health potential.
All the different herbs which blend together with the tea leaves in milk have their own individual health benefits and together they build up a synergy which provides the human body with immunity boosting power and make it a top of the shelf home remedy for keeping cough and cold, at bay.
The anti-oxidants present in this humble cup of decoction are known to beat fatigue and boost energy levels, prevent inflammation and relieve pains and aches.
Digestion improves significantly with its regular use and there is less of bloating and gastro-intestinal disorders as the herbs aid in the process of breaking down the food organically.
The tea leaves, originally travelled to India with the Britishers who loved to enjoy their afternoon cup of tea leaves seeped in some hot water in a tea—pot and diluted with cold milk at the end. Indians, took up this drink with gusto and fervour and as with all things British, made it their own with the final product being infinitely supreme in taste, flavour and benefits than its original counterpart. Indian tea is rich brown in hue with a liberal dose of milk, a heady infusion of spices and a generous sprinkling of sugar to offset the toasty bitterness. The best part is that since it is languorously simmered in a pan, directly on the stove from the start to the finish before it is finally poured in the cups, it stays steaming hot and is not insipidly warm.
Winter mornings and evenings are never the same without it. Whether you need just that perfect excuse to shed off the warmth of your blankets and set the day rolling or the perfect end to a cold winter evening before you call it a day, a warm cup of Indian masala chai will do just that trick.
While you are at it, do take note of what celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar actually advocates about this beverage in a social media post, a couple of months back. She hails it as the ultimate antioxidant rich health drink, perfect to be sipped 2–3 times a day and meant to be had with sugar but be warned, it is not intended to kick-start your mornings neither should be it the last drink to close the day.
So, with all basic myths dispelled, it is time to head on to the kitchen while I put up my feet and finish my cup of chai, guilt-freely.