After talking about bolani and imagining Afghanistan, its time we enjoy a hearty beverage from our own Kashmir. A few days back on International Tea Day I had posted the Kahwa recipe. This time its going to be another one equally popular called Noon chai or Gulabi chai or Sheer chai or plainly Pink tea.
The word 'Noon' means salt in Kashmiri and few other languages. It is a custom in Kashmiri households to drink this tea 2-3 times a day along with Kashmiri breads and pastries. The recipe is easy except that a little bit of patience is needed with this as it needs to be on constant boiling. To get the auhentic pink colour its better we get the authentic Kashmiri tea leaves. I tried the recipe from here using the regular green tea leaves. Though the taste was AWESOME the colour didn't pop out that much.
Kashmiri Tea Leaves/Green Tea Leaves: 1 tbsp
Water: 4 cups
Baking Soda: 1/4 tsp
Cardamom Powder: 1/2 tsp
Star Anise: 1
Sugar: as per taste
Milk: 1 cup +/ - as per taste
Salt: 1/4-1/2 tsp
Pistachios & Almonds: few chopped
Put water to boil in a sauce pan. When it comes to rolling boil, add the tea leaves and baking soda. Reduce the heat a little and let it cook until the water it reduced to 3 cups. This will take about 20 minutes atleast.
Keeping the heat to medium or low,aerate the tea using a ladle as this is needed to bring out the pink colour. You can stir vigourously with the ladle also. This should be done for around 20 + minutes. More time you do this while the tea is cooking the better. If the water reduces more than expected you can add more cold water and continue cooking . Also baking soda is used to get the pink colour I suppose.
Strain the tea to remove the tea leaves and put the clear tea back to the sauce pan on heat. Add in the milk as per your requirements -whether you prefer milk or strong or even creamy tea in which case even cream can be added. Add the spices and the sugar as per taste.
You can play around with spices adding your choices and even sugar which is not a part of authentic tea but a new or modern version.
Boil for some more time and then add salt and take it off heat. Salt brings out the flavours in the tea.
Serve hot garnished with almonds or other dried fruits along with breads.
I love my cuppa of masala chai in the mornings and when I tried this I loved this equally. You won't feel that its green tea leaves used to make the noon tea.I will definitely be making it again and again and in large quantities as well. In Kashmir this tea in made in large quantities in a samovar for the day. Except for the time it involves and the aeration , but once you taste it definitely you will fall in love with it..