Nov 18, 2015

Kashmiri Tea, a.k.a. Pink Chai or Noon Chai

 

Have you ever heard of or seen this beautiful beverage? I hadn’t until recently and I’m very excited to share this recipe with you…

Last weekend I was at the Food=Medicine Conference in Atlanta. It was AMAZING and included speakers like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., Dr. Thomas M. Campbell II, Dr. Michael Greger and more! I was in heaven and it was a superb education and reinforcement of the power of a plant-based diet. If you’re not already following Dr. Greger’s NutritionFacts.org, I highly recommend it! He is a great speaker and shares evidence-based nutritional information every day on his site. I have posted a video about him and his work below…

Anyway, I could go on and on about the conference, but let’s get back to this tea. Nearby the conference center is an Indian market called Patel Brothers. It’s HUGE! They have aisles and aisles of spices, rice, tea—you name it. Plus a produce section filled with fresh fruits and veggies that are not readily available in American stores. So, yes, I spent WAY too much money in there! But it was worth every penny and one of the treats that I found was this Kashmiri Tea. Oh, my. Where have you been all my life? This is actually a green tea, but its properties and flavor are anything but ordinary. It is unique in both taste and appearance, as it turns deep red when it’s cooked a certain way (pink when you add milk). So pretty!

This tea is traditionally made with milk, salt, pistachios, almonds, cardamom, and cinnamon and cooked in a samovar, which is a special tea pot that I don’t yet own. A pinch of baking soda is added to help give it more of a pronounced pink color. A recent preparation of this tea also includes sugar but it is not traditionally consumed in Kashmir. Noon Chai is also served in many parts of Pakistan at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter months when it is sold at many kiosks.

 

I only found a few online sources for Kashmiri tea. One is here. If you are lucky enough to live near an Asian or Indian market, you could check there as well.

Since I am not a fan of salt, I created a sweet tea instead and it’s fantastic! The preparation is a bit time intensive but it’s pretty easy. Hope you’ll give this a go!

Photo steps (specific directions below):

Step 1. Simmer the tea + water, cardamom, 
cinnamon and baking soda 
 
Step 2. Add ice water and whisk well.
 
Step 3. Strain.
 
Step 4. Return to pan.
 
Step 5. Add milk and sweetener.
 
Step 6. Whisk well until foamy.
 
Step 7. Pour into cups and top with nuts.
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 heaping TBS loose Kashmiri tea
  • 2 cups water + 1 cup ice water
  • 2 cups plant-based milk (I used homemade cashew milk for an ultra-creamy result)
  • 6 crushed green cardamom pods (or ½ tsp cardamom powder)
  • 1 small cinnamon stick or, if you want to make it extra special, 2 tsp of malabar cinnamon sticks 
  • date syrup or minimally-processed sweetener of your choice (to taste, I used about ¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Finely chopped pistachios and/or almonds for garnish

Directions:

  1. Place the tea leaves, 2 cups water, crushed cardamom pods, cinnamon and baking soda in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. The liquid will reduce a bit. That’s okay.
  3. Add the ice water and whisk vigorously. The shock of the cold water (along with the baking soda) is what creates a chemical reaction in the tea which turns it a deep red, so don’t leave this step out!
  4. Strain the mixture and add back to the pot. 
  5. Add the date syrup or sweetener of your choice and the milk and whisk again until frothy.
  6. Serve topped with chopped pistachios and/or almonds.
 
 

Makes about 4 cups. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

 

Dr. Michael Greger, M.D.
 
 
 
 
 

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