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How to Host an Indian Afternoon Tea party? Get Indian Afternoon Tea Ideas. How to plan a High Tea menu? How to execute a Tea Party at home?

Indian Afternoon Tea



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.

In an Indian household, afternoon tea is quite common, but so is evening tea, or as we like to call it ‘shaam ki chai.’

It’s the time of day when 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 and 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).

Indian Afternoon Tea
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What is an Indian Afternoon Tea / Indian High Tea

Indian Afternoon Tea or Indian High Tea is essentially Masala Chai, served with Indian tea snacks. Essentially, you need to serve finger foods for any kind of afternoon tea party. And given the variety of foods in India, there are a plethora of Indian snacks no matter which part of India you are from.

I am Punjabi and grew up in a very Punjabi household so I gravitate towards tea snacks such as samosa, pakoda, kachodi, and chaat. With that said, my mom also made us Rava Dhokla which is a highly popular Gujarati snack, and idli – a popular South Indian breakfast.

To host a High Tea Party, make your life simple. I always recommend combining some homemade snacks and store-bought snacks because these days who has the time? I am not about to make samosas from scratch any time soon. Lol… just sayin’.

My First Mother’s Day

So anyway, I’ve been wanting to share an Indian High Tea Menu (or Hi Tea Menu) for so long now, but I was waiting for the right occasion.

Since I’ll be celebrating my very first Mother’s Day this Sunday, I knew it was time. There’s something so special about Mother’s Day and chai, it’s probably because I associate chai with my mom.

Without further ado, here are some High Tea Ideas.

Why You’ll Love This Indian Afternoon Tea

  • It’s a Tea Party!
  • Nostalgic
  • Easy to prepare
  • Perfect for Indian Tea Time
  • Ideal for a Special Occasion such as Mother’s Day, Bridal Shower, Baby Shower, or Girlfriends’ Day In
  • A Bonding Experience
  • Delicious
  • Options for Indian Vegetarian Snacks

Indian Afternoon Tea

Indian High Tea Menu 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.

Indian Afternoon Tea Menu / Indian High Tea Menu

Bottom Tierdesi-inspired finger sandwiches

Indian Afternoon Tea Finger Sandwiches

Middle Tier – chatpata desi high tea snacks

Indian Afternoon Tea

Top Tier – Indian desserts

Indian Afternoon Tea

Beverage

Indian Afternoon Tea Masala Chai

Expert Tips on 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.
Indian Afternoon Tea

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I make vegan finger sandwiches?

Absolutely! Simply substitute regular cheese and cream cheese with the vegan versions. 

2. Can I make these sandwiches gluten-free?

Yes. Just use gluten-free bread – make sure it’s soft though.

3. Where can I purchase the 3-tier stand?

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.

I also love these options – here, here, here, and here.

4. How do I execute hosting an Afternoon Tea?

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 Almond Cardamom 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.

5. What are other Indian Afternoon Tea Menu Ideas?

For finger sandwiches – you can also make paneer bhurji sandwiches, cucumber radish butter sandwiches, and 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 Cake with Almonds and Rose Buttercream, Eggless Mawa Cake, Condensed Milk Eggless Cake would all work. 


More Tea Time Snacks

Pin & Enjoy!

4.58 from 7 votes

Indian Afternoon Tea / Indian High Tea Menu

By: Nisha
How to host an Indian Afternoon Tea party? On my High Tea Menu are dhokla, samosa, finger sandwiches, and mango mousse to name a few.
Prep Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

Bottom Tier – desi-inspired finger sandwiches (recipes coming this week)

Middle Tier – chatpata desi snacks

Top Tier – Indian desserts

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Instructions 

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.

Additional Info

Course: Afternoon Tea, Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Indian Fusion
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @honeywhatscooking or tag #honeywhatscooking!

Thank you for reading. I hope this post inspires you to host your next Indian Tea Party with family or girlfriends. For more inspiration, Follow me on Instagram.


Hi, I'm Nisha!

I'm a foodie who is passionate about healthy-ish living and mindful eating. You'll find a bit of everything here. I use mostly organic real ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce in my cooking. I believe food is medicine. Join me on this soul-searching journey as I share my love for good food, and I hope I inspire you to eat better somewhere along the way.


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9 Comments

  1. Nice idea…but could you please help me with how people reheat already cooked food in oven..? I always get confused as to how to do it.

    1. Sure. Things like dhokla can be reheated in the microwave. You can prep the ingredients for the sandwiches and make it a couple hours before your guests arrive – or make them the night before – cover and refrigerate it in plastic wrap well and leave it outside 1 hour before your guests arrive. Chai – you can always get one of those warmers that keep tea/coffee hot, make the tea and place it inside the chai stand. Items like samosa – i generally heat mine up in the toaster oven or oven.. once your guests arrive serve. Samosas probably need like 20 minutes. Please let me know if you have further questions.

  2. 5 stars
    Love this!!This is great info, we are planning a chai tea bridal shower. Thanks for the details and ideas.

  3. 3 stars
    While I love the whole setup but being Indian preparing tea 45 minutes in advance is a total no no. For me tea should be in kettle direct from stove top and served in cups in next 5 minutes!

    1. I suppose. 🙂 That really depends on your speed and how many people you’re making tea for. I can’t control that. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Inspired by this post, I hosted a tea party of my own. Loved the sandwiches and mango mousse. I made English scones from your recipes too and it was bomb 😀

  5. This is a wonderful idea and I love the precision with which you create/execute this. Nicely done! I can’t wait to try this myself

    1. Hi ST – You’re so sweet. Yes, I tried to add as much detail as possible. Thank you so much!