Kashmiris don’t actually call their chai “Kashmiri Chai”. That’s the term used by Pakistanis and Indians to describe the Kashmiri Noon Chai (translated to Salt Tea). As the name indicates, Noon chai is a salty drink, but has won popularity across Pakistan as a sweet concoction.
Commonly called Pink Tea, Kashmiri chai is a milk tea characterized by its dusty pink color and garnishing of beaten nuts. It’s brewed with green tea leaves and baking soda, and then mixed with milk to give it a awesome pink color.
Even within Pakistan, Kashmiri Chai is a bit of a delicacy because of the long, rather laborious process of making it.
For Ice Water
- room temperature water
- ice cubes
For Kashmiri Chai:
- Kashmiri chai leaves, or sub any non-bitter green tea leaves
- star anise (badiyan)
- green cardamom pods
- whole cloves (loung), optional
- cinnamon stick, optional
- baking soda
- whole milk
- half and half*, or sub 1 part heavy whipping cream + 1 part milk
- kosher salt or sea salt
- sweetener of choice, I’ve tried cane sugar, brown sugar, and date syrup
For Serving (Optional):
- raw almonds, crushed using mortar and pestle
- unsalted pistachios, crushed using mortar and pestle
- Medium Saucepan
- Prepare ice water: Combine room temperature water with 2-3 large ice cubes and set aside.
- https://e24e062fb431f78067055dbc0e30da76.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Heat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add water, Kashmiri chai leaves, star anise, green cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon (if using) and bring to a boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, add the baking soda. It’ll fizz a little. Allow this mixture to boil over high heat for 5-6 minutes. Occasionally, use a ladle to aerate (scoop and pour back) the tea. You’ll notice the froth in the water go from pale green to a deep pink color. If not, add another 1/8 tsp of baking soda.** The water will be greatly reduced, almost evaporated.
- Add the prepared ice water (discard any ice cubes). If you’d like, you can aerate several times to deepen the color. Add the milk, half & half, salt, and sweetener. Allow it to a come to a light boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Do not allow it to boil for too long as it’ll start to lose some of its pink color. Taste and adjust salt and sweetener.
- Strain the tea into cups and add crushed almonds and pistachios, as desired.
HOW TO SERVE KASHMIRI CHAI:
Due to the fact that Kashmiri chai is so flavorful and almost dessert-like, it’s normally served as-is, piping warm and garnished with beaten nuts. In Kashmir, numerous types of Kashmiri bread is often eaten along Kashmiri chai. Naan may be a fantastic substitute.