Tips to throw a ‘High Chai’
High Tea is one of the oldest traditions and rooted in he British tradition of high tea began which began in the mid 1700s. I have always loved high tea and make it a priority to experience it in every city I visit.
Many of us also know the South Asian tradition of ‘chah’ or chai. A ritual where one person welcomes another with a cup of tea and food all over some conversation. ‘Chai’ is considered something you do out of respect and friendship and for many of us, sometimes, ‘chai-ka-cup’ time can go longer.
Now imagine bringing the two together! A high chai, or high tea ‘Indian-style’ can be done at home or as an event at a venue. Hearing about some friends in the UK having high chai, got me really excited so I put together some ideas on this fun combination. Two of my favourite things coming together.
Watch as I share my DIY Tips below (in action) for a High Chai at home with Kitty Talk on their recent Mother’s Day segment:
Here are some essentials to throw a High Tea ‘Indian Style’:
1. Choose a Tea For Your Guests
If you have a small group, brew a pot of hot water with loose leaf tea or bags. If you have a larger group you may want to give each person a choice of flavours and a single serve teapot at each setting. Chai Moments is a great option as you can get several different flavours and each package comes complete with everything you need for a perfect cup of tea.
2. Have Hot Water Ready To Pour
Make sure you have a steady flow of hot boiling water for each serving. Nothing worse than lukewarm tea! Do not re-boil water as water tends to lose oxygen when it’s left standing and will impact the full flavour and taste of the tea.
3. Keep your teapot warm by moving boiling water in it prior to your event.
Swish around boiling water along the inner sides of the teapot
4. Make sure to steep your tea (loose leaf, tea bags or other) for the correct amount of time. Here’s a great chart for reference.
5. Always serve tea in tea pots!
Choose a great setting and never put tea in a mug!
- Pick a theme (Indian, Morrocan, etc.)
- Choose your place settings to compliment the theme (that includes, placemats, china and centrepiece). For a more ‘bling’ look, choose metallic charger plates with smaller tea plates on top. Who says you have to always have a cup and saucer?
- Choose ways to tie in elements of your theme into centerpieces, or lighting. Eg. lanterns, vases, etc.
Prep Ahead of Time:
a). Spend Time To Save Time Prep in advance– from food to table settings. Smart preparation will allow you to spend more time with your guests.
b). Clean As You Go Get the mess out of the way, and load the dishwasher with Cascade so that you need not worry about pre-rinsing .
c) Share The Work We all know how everyone gets in the kitchen after an event! After your main bites, and before the sweet bites, encourage a big desi help-out mela in the kitchen!
Create a Menu
This is the best part! It’s all about the food and what pairs well with your chais. Here are some tips:
- Vada Pav or Mumbai sandwiches are great for high chais.
- A savoury bite of some kind is always great, that can be a pakora or aloo tikki style bite.
- If you want something heavier, you can always add something like wraps, or
- For the ‘sweet’ side scones or chai cupcakes pair really well.
**Keep the menu simple with items with work well together. Keep portions as bite sized
Menu Example (Vegetarian)
(Tea Pairings: Cardamom Chai Moments, Masala Chai Moments)
- Mumbai Sandwiches
- Masala Papad
- Aloo Tikki
- Indian Chinese Style Fried Rice with Quinoa (serve in little Chinese boxes)
- Chai Spiced Cupcakes
Menu Example: Non-Vegetarian
(Tea Pairings: Ginger Chai Moments, Milk Tea)
- Fish Tikki
- Papadi Chaat
- Chicken Keema Tamarind Wraps/Keema Spring Rolls
- Cardamom Chai and Pistachio Scones
- Add a palate cleanser!: Cardamom & Ginger Chai Pops
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