Afternoon Tea – The Indian way


We in India, mark every occasion with a hot steaming cup of  ‘chai’. Tea is just wonderful: it helps you get out of bed every morning, it helps you pass your day at work, it helps you create memories with your wonderful family and friends and then it helps you sleep well too! Well, there is tea today for every occasion and for your every need! As the world has got smaller, we have had the chance to taste teas from across the world, such as Rooibos tea from South Africa (even given to children), the green tea made popular by the Chinese and of course, the wonderful variety of teas grown in India, which we offer to the world.

Like us, the British love their tea too. Well, it was them that bought this wonderful beverage to India. The British have a tradition of having ‘Afternoon Tea‘ in the late afternoon. Do you know the story behind this?  It is believed  that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained of “having that sinking feeling” during  late afternoons. This problem of hers was addressed by a pot of tea and a light snack, perhaps a slice of cake, in the privacy of her boudoir during the late afternoon, of course! ‘High Tea’ is often described as a high-end version of an afternoon tea but this wasn’t the case at all, when it all started! This was in fact a meal for labourers, who had a cuppa with their dinner! Here is some more information about different kinds of tea times and events, as read in on An afternoon to remember’s website:

  • Cream Tea — A simple tea consisting of scones, clotted cream, marmalade or lemon curd and tea.
  • Low Tea/Afternoon Tea — An afternoon meal including sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, curd, 2-3 sweets and tea. Known as “low tea” because guests were seated in low armchairs with low side-tables on which to place their cups and saucers.
  • Elevensies — Morning coffee hour in England
  • Royale Tea — A social tea served with champagne at the beginning or sherry at the end of the tea.
  • High Tea — High tea co notates an idea of elegancy and regal-ness when in fact is was an evening meal most often enjoyed around 6 pm as laborers and miners returned home. High tea consists of meat and potatoes as well as other foods and tea. It was not exclusively a working class meal but was adopted by all social groups. Families with servants often took high tea on Sundays in order to allow the maids and butlers time to go to church and not worry about cooking an evening meal for the family.

Now, that we are all enlightened about the differences between the above, let’s see what an Indian style of ‘high tea’ entails. These ‘high tea’ parties are becoming increasing popular in India too. Well, even Mr. Modi recently hosted a ‘high tea’ party for his MPs. Now, how can the rest of us be left behind?

Though, instead of using the traditional british menu, we have altered it to suit out taste buds. Of course, you will still find a crustless sandwich, but it won’t be a cucumber one, instead you make be biting into a coriander chutney and tomato chutney sandwich, which is totally delicious too! Then, there are a variety of other snacks that have made it to the ‘high tea’ events. Here is my selection, that I think look pretty and tasty and hence deserve a place on the ‘high table’ 🙂

Crispy Bhindi - Crunch away via
Crispy Bhindi – Crunch away via
Vada Pav, the Kutch way via
Vada Pav, the Kutch way via
Karela gets a makeover - baked crisps via
Karela gets a makeover – baked crisps via
Potato cups - baked and all... via
Potato cups – baked and all… via
Kebabs with perhaps some coriander-mint chutney? via
Kebabs with perhaps some coriander-mint chutney? via

And if you do fancy hosting your special ‘afternoon teathe proper British way, then have a read of this:

Afternoon tea, the British way via
Afternoon tea, the British way via

Now, go and get a refill of your favourite cuppa and get planning! High, low or afternoon tea…it’s about sharing and enjoying food. So, do share, laugh and create history…maybe, just like this lovely bunch is doing:

High tea - the Indian way ...via
High tea – the Indian way …via

Shilpa xx


Cover Image: via 1, 2



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