How to host an Indian Afternoon Tea party?
Chai is an Experience
Chai time is an experience and a very personal one. I grew up in a home where chai was (and still is) celebrated. Everyone in my home from my mom to my nieces is obsessed with chai. It’s the time of day where we set our worries aside, and come together as a family, sit around, snack on delicious treats, and chitchat. Our chai sessions are rather elaborate can easily last up to two hours on the weekends. I live for those moments.
Similarly, I’ve taken on this tradition with my best friends too. When my girlfriends come over, I shower them with love, delicious snacks, and masala chai. I look forward to Chai Time with my girlfriends whenever I have a chance to visit home (NJ).
Since I love Masala Chai, I’ve been wanting to share an Indian Afternoon Tea post for so long, but I was waiting for the right occasion. I’ll be celebrating my very first Mother’s Day this Sunday, and I knew it was time.
So let’s begin! When people come over, I love whipping up all my Desi snacks for chai. To be fair, some homemade and some store-bought because who has time for that. I’ll be sharing my Indian Afternoon Tea menu ideas which are essentially all the things I would want to eat when having chai.
Indian High Tea Musthaves
- To host an Indian High Tea, you’ll definitely need a 3-tier stand. Found here and here.
- You’ll also need a pretty tea set. I like the following by Noritake – here, here, and here.
- Get some flowers and arrange them in small mason jars. They look so pretty. I just plucked some flowers from my backyard or Trader Joe’s has some pretty affordable ones.
- A few votive candles add some warmth. One of my favorites from Williams Sonoma.
- Lastly, you’ll need little serving cups for sweet and savory items. I always keep some of the plastic cups on hand, they’re so helpful for parties – Martini Glasses and Square Mini Cups.
How to Plan an Indian Afternoon Tea party?
- 3 weeks before – purchase a 3-tier stand. Recommend these here and here.
- 3 weeks before – purchase a pretty tea set if you don’t have one. They add so much elegance. I recommend these – here, here, and here
- 1 1/2 weeks before – plan your menu. Have some homemade items and a few store-bought items. Don’t go overboard with too many items. Keep it simple and elegant.
- 5 days before – plan out when to cook each item – some items will keep better than others.
- 4 days before – go grocery shopping.
- 1-2 days before – start cooking. I have shared when I made all these items so you can plan ahead.
- 1-2 days before – pick up some colorful flowers. I love using small mason jars to arrange my flowers.
- 4 hours before – transfer the mango mousse to the martini glasses and quinoa bhel salad to the square mini cups. Refrigerate.
- 45 minutes before guests arrive – make the masala chai and store it in a thermos. Transfer to a tea kettle when you’re ready to serve.
- 20 minutes before – heat up all hot oven items such as samosa. Once baked, you can keep the samosas warm at 200 degrees F.
- 10 minutes before – have all cold and room temperature items displayed on your 3-tier stand. Don’t add the hot and warm items yet.
- 3 minutes before – warm-up all microwave items such as dhokla.
- Once you’re ready to serve – add the hot samosas from the oven to the 3-tier stand along with the dhokla. Transfer the masala chai from the thermos to a tea kettle.
For my Indian High Tea, I purchased a 3-tier stand (here and here) for a more authentic experience. Can I just say the crystal plates that came with this stand are so beautiful and elegant? I highly recommend a classy dome-shaped stand.
Indian Afternoon Tea Menu
Bottom Tier – desi-inspired finger sandwiches (recipes coming this week)
Middle Tier – chatpata desi snacks
- Quinoa Bhel Salad (used these square mini cups for display)
- Rava Dhokla (chutney optional)
- Potato & Pea Samosas (store-bought)
Top Tier – Indian desserts
- Mango Mousse (used these martini glasses for display)
- Almond Tea Cake (recipe coming this week)
- Pistachio Nankhatai Cookies (store-bought)
- Masala Chai – my recipe is failproof.
How I executed my plan?
I started cooking 2 days in advance because I have a baby. These days I need to plan in advance in order to get things done.
Day 1 – I made the Cardamom Almond Tea Cake. Once cooled, I stored the cake in glass Tupperware. Additionally, I made the Rava Dhokla and also stored it in glass Tupperware.
Day 2 – I made all the Finger Sandwiches and sealed them tightly in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. I also made the Quinoa Bhel Salad and transferred them to these 3.5-ounce square cups.
Day 3 (day of the event) – I made the Mango Cardamom Mousse and refrigerated it for a few hours. A couple of hours before serving, I transferred the mousse to these martini glasses.
Other Indian Afternoon Tea Menu Ideas
For finger sandwiches – you can also make paneer bhurji sandwiches, cucumber radish butter sandwiches, cucumber cream cheese sandwiches.
For chatpata desi snacks – you can also include patra, muthiya, khaman, chaat papdi, kachori, and more. Fried or non-fried items that are easy to eat work.
For desi desserts – a mousse, custard, or shrikhand will work. An Indian-inspired cheesecake would work well also. Items such as Gulab Jamun, Gajar ka Halwa, Ras Malai Mousse, Rice Kheer, Rose Almond Nankhatai Cookies, Rose Water Almond Cake, Eggless Mawa Cake, Condensed Milk Eggless Cake would all work.
Thank you for reading. I hope this post inspires you to host your next Indian Afternoon Tea party with family or girlfriends. For more inspiration, follow me on Instagram.