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The Sweet Joy of Kolkata Street Chai

Kolkata the ‘City of Joy is undoubtedly the Tea capital of India with both Assam Tea and Darjeeling Tea being traded from here across the country and the world since imperial days. It is no surprise then that the finest chai is brewed on the streets of Kolkata. The trademark of Kolkata Street Chai is the Kulhads or clay cups in which tea is served. People of Kolkata love to spend their leisure time with a cup of the street Chai and you will also find office workers during their breaks crowding around the Chaiwalla in lively and animated conversation over their much loved Chai. The Chai served is a blend of rich Assam Tea and exotic Indian spices which may include cardamom, Nutmeg, Ginger, and even a pinch of saffron, though the recipe varies from one vendor to another. You can best enjoy the tea with milk and sugar for an authentic experience and with the accompaniment of anything from humble biscuits to hot samosas or famous Kolkata sweets or even with a pull of smoke if you are a smoker.

Bustling streets of Kolkata are dotted with Chaiwallas brewing their secret recipe of Masala Chai to attract the passersby with their strong, spicy, milky, and very sweet tea in simple earthenware cups that are crushed after every use. The best Chaiwallas who place themselves at coveted spots attract a large crowd vouchsafing Kolkata’s Chai as the best street tea in India. Some of these places have earned a name for themselves and created a niche among tea–loving crowds of the city. If you happen to be in Kolkata do not miss a visit to Tewari Brothers who are famous for their tea as well as their samosas. They have several outlets in Kolkata but the most popular is the one at Burra Bazar. Another joint that is a crowd puller is the Arun Tea stall at Shakespeare Sarani. Visit the joint to enjoy their famous Club Kachori and equally good Chai. However, if you wish to try Kolkata teas on your own, you can take a pleasant stroll along the river at Princep Ghat and enjoy a unique experience from the many tea stalls there that offer hot tea with Ghoti Gorom, a delightful mixture of chanachur, lemon juice, and onion. Another place to savor the Kolkata Street Chai are the tea stalls on Elgin Road who are said to sell the finest brews in the city.

If you are not able to visit Kolkata to enjoy the street chai let us introduce you to a simple recipe to enjoy the Kolkata Street Chai in the comfort of your home that you can try. To make Chai for two persons you will need 2 cups of water, 3-4 cm ginger, 4 cardamoms pods, 4tps black tea, 3-4 tsp raw sugar, 1cup whole milk. Now follow the simple procedure noted below.

  1. Put the water in a saucepan to boil.

  2. Gently break or slice the ginger and also the cardamom and put them in the water to boil.

  3. Once the water boils and you feel the infusion of spices add the black tea. Boil it for further 2 minutes.

  4. Add sugar and milk and let it boil for another 2-3 minutes on low flame.

  5. When done pour tea into a cup straining with a sieve and serve hot to enjoy the Chai.

You can make your Chai spicier by adding, bay leaves, black pepper, cinnamon, or nutmeg in the water. But always break the spices for effective infusion. Try the variations in your kitchen and select the option that tastes best to you to make your own favorite Kolkata Chai.

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