The very name ‘pink tea’ has fascinated me since childhood. No, it’s not pink because its fruity and peachy…the colour comes from a technique combined with patience.

The other names for this tea are ‘Noon Chai’ which means salty tea and ‘ Sheer Chai’ which means milky tea. All these name actually give some idea of the qualities we are looking for in this tea…pink, salty and milky!

It originates from the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, lying between the Great Himalayas and Panjal mountains. The people of Kashmir have it all around the day…from breakfast till after dinner, usually for breakfast it’s accompanied with crisp naan or delicious Bakarkhaani …a flat, crisp, layered bread, dunked into Pink Tea.

It’s pink colour is a consistent part of their culture, be it hot political discussions, weddings or bereavement, Noon Chai is served at all occasions. In the extremely harsh winters of Kashmir, this tea becomes a survival necessity.

If you fall in love with this tea…the next stage is usually the obsession to try making it at home and getting the pink colour right ! For that you must use loose green tea leaves or Chinese oolong tea leaves ( not tea bags) and whole milk.

Another must-do is the use of baking soda which is the key ingredient that turns the colour from greenish brown to pink. In the end whisking the tea is also important to bring out the colour and flavours more.

Usually people don’t take tea with salt…you can use sugar to balance the salt but its highly recommended that at least once you should try it in its traditional salty flavour. Personally I prefer it salty and find it as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate before going to bed.

Ingredients:

4 cup water + 2 cups chilled water
4 teaspoon loose green tea leaves or Chinese oolong tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cinnamon
A few green cardamom
1 star anise
2 cups whole milk or more if you prefer lighter colour
Crushed almond or pistachios for garnishing

This Is What You Do:

In a sauce pan add 4 cups water, tea leaves, salt, cinnamon, star anise and cardamoms.

Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer till the water is reduced to half.

Add soda and 2 cups chilled water. At this point start whisking the tea, fill a ladle with tea and throw it back into the sauce pan from a height.

Repeat this process for 5 minutes. The tea will be dark maroon and the bubbles on top will be pinkish.

Let the tea simmer another few minutes. Take it off the heat, strain and fill in a jug or bottle. This can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.

To make Pink tea, mix this brew with milk. For light pink tea mix 1/2 cup milk with 1/2 cup brew. For stronger tea mix 3/4 cup brew with 1/4 cup milk.

Heat milk and brewed tea together in a cup in the microwave or in a pan over stove till boiling hot, add sugar or more salt to suit your taste.

Garnish with chopped almonds or pistachios.

Serves 4

14 Replies to “Kashmiri Pink Tea”

  1. Thank you for this recipe Maria! Turned out really good, except the colour πŸ™ Although I think that’s because of the leaves I used. I’ll try it again with other leaves and see how it goes πŸ™‚

  2. Asak Maria.. thank you tried it for the first time and it was really nice. Have u got any kashmiri recipes of desserts .

  3. I tried it, it didnt turn pink, and i’m not sure what I did wrong. But it still tastes delicious! I’ll be trying it a couple more times to master the pink color lol.

    1. Sanah, I’m glad you liked the taste. But I know, half the fun is lost if the colour doesn’t come out real pink.
      Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong and it was the tea leaves. The colour turns brighter pink with Kashmiri tea leaves compared to oolong tea. Also old/last year’s tea leaves lose most of their colour, aroma and flavour. Buy a new batch every season.
      Better luck next time! 😊

    1. I’m delighted to know that, Nayab! 😊 Thank you so much for the feedback. Enjoy a cozy winter with pink tea. β˜•πŸ˜Š

    1. Oh me too!There is something very unique and decadent about Kashmiri cuisine, right!
      If you try, do let me know how it turned out.
      Thank you, Maryann 😊

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