Kashmiri (the original leaves originate in Kashmiri) or Gulabi (Pink) Chai (Tea) is a savoured delicacy and the process to get the correct pink coloured milky liquid into a fine bone china cup is unlike any other. Copious amounts are literally downed in the Punjab over the cold winter months especially in cities like Lahore and Islamabad.
The UK is now catching up ‘on this winter ‘addiction, and you can purchase, by the cup at Hamza Faluda House on Southall Broadway who are open until 5am! Jamie Oliver a renowned UK chef has a recipe for this on his website, can’t get more UK than that!
I have only recently learnt how to make it from my good mother as I haven’t been much of a tea drinker all my life, but am quick to admit, this is my new addiction!
Making of this tea is an art and can produce good or bad results, if you patiently go through all of the steps in my recipe you will achieve a very satisfying ‘colour’ coupled with the authentic taste!
- 7 pints of spring or filtered cold water
- half cup of kashmiri tea leaves (some people use dry green tea leaves)
- 2 whole star anise
- 18 small green cardamoms
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- a qtr teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- full fat milk as required
Put 2 pints of spring or filtered water into a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the star anise, the approximately 12 cardamoms and the special tea leaves, place on the cooker and switch on heat.
Add the salt and bicarbonate of soda, bring to the boil, keep on a rolling boil for 10 minutes. During this time some froth will begin floating on top, the colour of this should be a touch of pink, if it is a touch of green then discard the mixture and begin again.
Cool the liquid completely, and then add the remaining spring or filtered water (5 pints), also add 1 large mug of crushed or cubed ice.
So far nothing difficult!
At this stage the process takes a really different turn! Keep the pan in an empty sink and take a deep ladle, collect some of the tea in it and drop it from a height of at least one foot, do this at least x20, and the colour will turn into a dark plum. If it is green in colour, then something didnt go well, discard and begin again.
Check the video below for a demonstration.
Put the pan with the dark plum liquid back onto the cooker, switch on the heat, bring to the boil, and keep on a low rolling boil for a minimum of 40 minutes this will reduced the amount of liquid.
This can be cooled and stored in the fridge for upto 3 days, it can also be frozen for a longer period but must be fully thawed at room temprature before the next stage.
You made it this far, now for the final stage!
Take two mugs of this plum coloured liquid and pour into an empty saucepan, add two mugs of full fat milk, 5 whole cardamoms and bring to the boil, keep on a low rolling boil for about 4-5 min until it thickens a little.
Kashmiri Chai is Ready!
Serve in best china or see-through cups, sugar or salt can be added to personal taste.
Sip! Enjoy! worth it!