I had been searching for this recipe for a long time now. I got recipes, also made it but never came out well. I never used to get the pink colour and this annoyed me a lot. I kept trying it often, but today morning when I tried it from a proper Kashmiri food recipe book which I had bought last week, I was finally successful. Though I was still not satisfied with the colour but I at least got a distinctive pink colour which made it stand out from all other versions of tea. And trust me, you cant beat the taste of this tea, the aroma of cinnamon and cardamom, the tiny bits of almonds and pistachios while having the tea, it was sheer pleasure for me. Actually to get the perfect pink you have follow the instructions very carefully, the tea leaves haveto be perfectly brewed to get the beautiful pink colour. This tea is different from all other teas and to get it right is a matter of patience.
This tea comes from India’s most beautiful place, also known PARADISE ON EARTH i.e., Kashmir. The pink chai is basically known as NOON CHAI in local language there and noon means salt in Kashmir. This is a salty tea authentically but there another story too behind this tea. People who migrated from Kashmir to Rawalpindi(Pakistan) adapted to the local taste there which is sweet and added sugar instead of salt in the tea, that is the reason this tea is also known as PINDI CHAI. Both the recipes for noon chai and pindi chai are same, just that noon chai is salty and pindi chai is sweet. My recipe has both salt and sugar, it is more of pindi chai than noon chai because the recipe has 4tbsp sugar and only 1/4 tsp salt. You can have it in either way, if you like salty, have noon chai(add salt. skip sugar), if you like sweet, have pindi chai(add sugar.skip salt) and if you like both follow my complete recipe.
- Cold water - 4 cups + 11/2 cups
- Milk - 4 cups
- Kashmiri tea leaves / Green tea leaves - 2 heaped tbsp
- Baking Soda / Meetha Soda - ½ tsp
- Salt - ¼ tsp
- Cinnamon stick - 1 (2 to 3 inches)
- Green Cardamoms(cracked) - 6
- Sugar - 4 tbsp
- Chopped Almonds - 10 (to garnish)
- Chopped Pistachios - 10(to garnish)
- Chopped walnuts - 5 to 6(to garnish) [optional]
- In a large and deep saucepan, add 4 cups cold water, kashmiri tea leaves/green tea leaves, baking soda, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, salt and bring it to a boil.
- When it comes to a boil, cover the tea mixture and keep it on medium flame for 30 minutes or until the tea mixture has reduced to only ½ cup.
- When the tea mixture reduces to ½ cup, immediately switch off the flame.
- Add remaining 1½ cups of cold water and use a electric whisk or frother to beat the tea leaves apart.
- Keep whipping until you see the pink colour.
- Now place it back on flame, add milk and sugar at this stage. Bring it to a boil.
- After it boils, lower the flame and partially cover with a lid for 10 mins.
- Strain out the tea through a sieve and garnish with almonds, pistachios and walnuts.
- Serve hot.
2. Use good quality baking soda, this is what gives the tea a beautiful pink colour. Good baking soda will not bubble up and will also not bitter the taste of the tea.
3. I added walnuts to garnish, it is not added in the traditional recipe so its optional.
4. Last and most important, using cold water to prepare the tea is very important. This is another trick to get the pink colour.