Sipping this fragrant, sweet tea doesn’t just warm the heart—it provides a dose of antioxidants, too, says food writer Monica Bhide.
Chai, which simply means “tea” in Hindi, is an integral part of the Indian subcontinent’s culture. From intense spiced black teas with hints of peppercorns to delicate green teas scented with saffron, there is a chai for every taste. Not only for sipping, brewed black tea also flavors certain curries and desserts—and is even used in hair and body treatments.
The most popular Indian teas are from Darjeeling and Assam. “The Darjeeling first flush [the earliest buds picked] is flowery, and the second flush is fuller bodied with a musky spiciness,” says Delhi-based tea sommelier Anamika Singh. For making traditional spiced chai, she recommends Assam tea, known for its briskness, malty flavor, and full body.
Authentic Indian chai is prepared by brewing loose black tea with milk, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and other spices. Not only is the tea itself an antioxidant, but these spices also have high antioxidant content, making spiced tea a deliciously healthy drink. …