One thing that has always been a constant in the South Asian Community is the consumption of Chai. It is an important part of our culture and traditions.
When people come to visit, they expect a cup of chai. After a meal – chai. Relaxing before bed – chai. Meeting up with old friends – chai. Gossiping around the table – 3 or 4 cups of chai. If you are part of my family get togethers, by the time you go to bed, you could have probably had at least 4 or 5 cups of chai, some days more!
What I particularly love about Chai is the intensity of flavors. It includes cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mint and lots of sugar – all warm and fragrant, making it have an incredible level of complexity that tastes even better.
But lately, I’ve been experimenting with my traditional chai and trying to make it have other flavors as well. For example, I’ve made rose-flavored chai, vanilla chai, spicy chai, and recently a Kashmiri Pink Chai.
If you’ve never heard of Kashmiri Pink Chai – you are definitely in for a treat. Unlike traditional masala chai that uses black tea, Kashmiri Chai uses green tea leaves. And this particular chai, is made with ground nuts – almonds, pistachios, cashews. It has a warm, buttery flavor and thanks to science, the green tea actually turns into a gorgeous mauve colored pink when it is cooked.
Kashmiri Chai is made with salt and baking soda. What happens is that once the baking soda is added to the boiling green tea, the chlorophyll released from the hot green tea reacts with the baking soda and you will literally see the tea bubble and then split apart in the pot. The green will move to one side and start turning a deep burgundy color. The longer you heat the tea, the darker the burgundy color becomes. It’s really a cool thing to watch happen right in front of you! And the best part is – the flavor of the green tea changes and becomes “nuttier.” Imagine a “sweet & salty” flavor profile in your tea!
Here is a delicious recipe for Kashmiri Pink Chai that I really recommend you try! Its a delicious and fun, new version of a chai tea that you will want to make many times.
Kashmiri Pink Tea
Serves: 3 to 4 cups
- 2 cups water
- 3 Tbsp. of Kashmiri tea leaves (OR 9 green tea bags – any brand)
- 10 green cardamom (crushed)
- 1 large stick of cinnamon
- 5 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup of ice cold water
- 3 Tbsp of sugar (add more for desired sweetness)
- 2.5 to 3 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)
- 1 to 2 Tbsp of freshly ground almonds
- 1 to 2 Tbsp of freshly ground pistachios
- Whipped cream or clotted cream
- In a medium sized saucepan, add water, green tea, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, anise, and salt.
- Heat all ingredients on medium heat till it starts to boil.
- Once tea is boiling, add your baking soda and mix in well.
- Cook for about 10-15 minutes until you start to see a deep red or deep burgundy color tea begin to show. (Some of the water may burn off, but that is fine.)
- Lower heat to lowest setting and add 1 cup of ice cold water. Mix well for about 1 minute.
- At this point, the Kashmiri green mixture is ready. Strain out all ingredients so only liquid tea remains in pot. (See Notes) AND/OR Continue to Step 7)
- To make the tea creamy, add your milk, heavy cream (optional), sugar and ground pistachios and ground almonds. (See Notes)
- Mix well.
- Cook for another 5-7 minutes on low heat to fully blend all ingredients into tea.
- Strain tea into cup.
- To serve, add some whipped cream/clotted cream on top, sprinkle some extra salt and some extra ground nuts on top for garnish.
- For Step 6, You can also pour strained tea mixture into a large bottle and keep in fridge for about 5 days for future use.
- Add more than 3 Tbsp of sugar if you want a sweeter tea.
- For Step 7, You can grind the almonds & pistachios together into 1 nut mixture if desired.
If you have an opportunity to try this tea recipe, please feel free to share your comments/thoughts below and/or tag me on IG @cmspiceculture