Authentic Kashmiri Chai (Pink tea)

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Note to self: In Pakistan the most coveted tea is Kashmiri chai (also known as pink tea). It’s coveted because it takes so long to make and that it’s really hard to get that perfect pink color. I personally never had it though I probably should’ve gotten a cup when I went to Pakistan last year. That was a trip I’ll never forget. It was an eye opening experience and made me realize there’s a whole world out there other than my little bubble.

So the key to making the chai pink is the baking soda, and using ice cold water. I have no idea why or what chemical reaction makes it like this but it works. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ There’s also the option of using Kashmiri chai tea leaves that already have a bit of red color in them to help accentuate the pinkness of the tea. It’s traditionally drank with a garnish of slivered almonds and chopped pistachios. I adapted this recipe from Cook with Faiza, she has a youtube channel with tons of followers and while the original video is in Urdu I’ve transcribed it to english and changed it up a little bit.

Anyways, I probably would never have given this a shot if it hadn’t been for someone requesting me to make this. (Shout out to Hira! Thank you!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping tbsp kasmiri chai
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 cups of ice cold water
  • 1½ cups of cold water
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 4-6 heaping tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet you want your chai to be)

Garnishes: Sliced almonds and chopped pistachios

Directions:

  1. In a large pot add 4 cups of ice cold water, 2 heaping tbsp Kashmiri chai, ¼ tsp salt ½ tsp baking soda, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 6 cardamom pods and place on high heat.
  2. Once it starts boiling lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  3. In the mean time slice almonds and chop pistachios. (You can use a food processor or use a knife)
  4. Once it’s reduced to about 1 cup of chai add 1½ cups of cold water.
  5. Froth by pouring it from one pot to another or from one jug to another. (Do this about 20-30 times)
  6. Add 4-6 heaping tbsp sugar and use a ladle to froth and aerate the chai some more.
  7. After about 10 minutes strain the tea and then continue frothing and ladling.
  8. Cook for about 15-20 more minutes and then serve hot with your preferred garnishes.

Note: The longer you cook it the better it tastes. 🙂

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Original recipe adapted from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbycIrzTrDU&feature=share

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