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.
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 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).
What is an Indian Afternoon Tea?
Indian Afternoon Tea or Indian High Tea is essentially Masala Chai, served with Indian tea snacks. 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 dhokla which is a highly popular Gujarati snack and favorite.
To make life simpler, it's best to combine some homemade snacks and some store-bought snacks because of these days who has the time. I am not about to make samosas from scratch any time soon.
My First Mother's Day
So anyway, I’ve been wanting to share an Indian High 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.
Indian Afternoon Tea is:
- Easy to prepare
- Perfect for Indian Tea Time
- Ideal for a Special Occasion for Mother's Day, Family Day, Girlfriends
- An experience
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 Tier - desi-inspired finger sandwiches (recipes coming this week)
Middle Tier - chatpata desi high tea 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
- Pistachio Nankhatai Cookies (store-bought)
- Masala Chai - my recipe is failproof.
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 ½ 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.
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.
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 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, 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.
More Tea Time Snacks
- Cucumber Chutney Cheese Sandwiches
- Veggie Cream Cheese Sandwiches
- Egg Salad Chili Sandwiches
- Masala Chai
- Quinoa Bhel Salad
- Almond Tea Cake
- Mango Mousse
Indian Afternoon Tea / Indian High Tea MenuVegetarian
Bottom Tier – desi-inspired finger sandwiches (recipes coming this week)
Middle Tier – chatpata desi snacks
Top Tier – Indian desserts
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 ½ 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.
Pin & Enjoy!
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.