|The restaurant made Kashmiri chai…|
My tryst with Kashmiri chai was by accident. On a holiday, when we were back home after a long trip and didn’t know where to have our dinner from, we randomly decided to barge into the new Pakistani joint that had opened a couple of buildings away. We definitely enjoyed the charga, the rotis and the kadai and as usual, me and D craved for something hot. I always prefer to sip tea after a heavy meal at a restaurant, but somehow this time, I wanted to try something different. That’s when the waiter suggested that we try the Kashmiri chai. It was winter during that time and therefore this tea was quite a hit, he said. I did not understand the logic but we ordered for both of us. A tea with a nice hue of pink, sprinkled with chopped pistachios and smelling of rose essence, it was love at first sight!!! I absolutely loved it to the core, however D did not have the same opinion. Before we left for a trip to Muscat last December, I had got HD to try it as well, but he didn’t like it. I don’t know why the men didn’t become fond, but for sure, I was hooked onto it!
That is when my hunt for making this chai at home started. Google wasn’t of much help. There were a few links and a few YouTube videos which I did not find it helpful. That is when I remembered my dear friend Ainy and decided to ask for her help. She explained to me that the pink in the tea was not natural, it was derived by adding a pinch of red color and what we normally get after cooking is a brownish pink which is absolutely normal. That explains why the links and videos showed a different color to what I had drunk at the restaurant! She even went on to post the recipe so that it would be of help for me. Now why this special chai for Kashmir? Because of the cold weather there! I am talking from experience that one small glass of this chai and you feel warm for at least 6 hours! I am really not joking… that’s why I used to frequently buy it or make it whenever I used to feel quite cold, not withstanding the time it takes to be prepared!
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp green tea leaves
- A big pinch baking soda
- A pinch cardamom powder
- 200 ml milk
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- A drop rose essence or 1 tsp rose water
- 1 tsp chopped pistachios for garnish
- Add the water and tea leaves and bring to boil on meduim flame. Keep cooking for around 10 minutes or till the water reduces to half.
- Add the soda and cardamom powder. You will see the water fluff up and the color change to a dark brownish pink. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Now add the milk, salt and sugar and cook on low flame till the milk boils up.
- Keep stirring occasionally. Switch off, add in the rose essence/ water.
- Pour into your favorite mug, top with pistachios.
- Roll up on your favorite couch with your favorite Kashmiri shawl draped around you and your hands holding the mug firm - enjoy!!!