Monday, January 2, 2012

Kashmiri Chai

It's wedding season and, in winter, dinner is usually followed by Kashmiri Chai. Sadly, most wedding caterers aren't very good at making it...

At best, it seems to be a cup of hot milk with the faintest tinge of pink pretending to be Kashmiri Chai...

Today my mother made some and I was reminded what Kashmiri Chai really is, what colour it's supposed to be, what it's supposed to taste like...

It's the perfect winter drink, it has a beautiful rich pink colour and, in my experience, just about everyone likes Kashmiri Chai.

So here's my mother's recipe. She got it from her mother, who got it from her mother.....


4 cups water
2 teaspoons Kashmiri tea leaves
1 star anise
3 cardamom pods
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking soda
2 cups ice-cold water
2 cups full-cream milk

1 tablespoon unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoons almonds

  1. In a saucepan, add 4 cups water, 2 teaspoons Kashmiri tea leaves, 1 star anise, a pinch of bicarbonate soda and a pinch of salt. Lightly crush the cardamom pods and add to the saucepan. Boil this mixture until it reduces by half.
  2. Now add 2 cups ice cold water and bring to a boil.
  3. While the mixture boils, take a large spoon or ladle and whip the tea mixture by taking spoonfuls or ladelfuls of the mixture and dropping it back into the pan from a height (Bring your arm up above the level of your head and then drop the tea mixture back into the pan from this height). Continue to do this about 4 minutes. (This process is what brings out the colour of the tea.)
  4. Strain the tea into another saucepan and add about 2 cups of milk. Continue to boil and whip for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste the tea and add more milk if you feel the tea is too strong or if you would like a creamier tea. (Even with a lot of milk the tea will still have quite a dark pink colour.)
  5. Crush the almonds and pistachios together in a mortar and pestle. Put this mixture in a small bowl to serve with the tea.

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