Karachi’s wedding Style_ Kashmiri Pink Tea
Guest post by Shagufta Ahsan
It’s a sure sign that winter has finally arrived in Karachi when Kashmiri Chai (or simply known as Pink Chai) starts being served at Karachi weddings.This tea has been served to my family by Shagufta Ahsan …So today I am sharing the Kashmiri chai recipe by Shagufta Ahsan…It was the steaming cup of chai in the prettiest color of pink, flavored with a bit of cardamom, and then garnished with almonds and pistas/pistachios that just spells comfort.She have used the Gulbahar brand Kashmiri or green tea/chai leaves..That is easily available in Karachi…
Kashmiri Chai – The Process
Kashmiri Chai (serves 10)
(For about 10 tea cups)
Water – 6 cups + 3 cups ice cold water
Milk – 1 and half litre
Sugar – to taste (1 tsp per cup)If you want to add during cooking add 4 tbsp then adjust according to taste)
Green Cardamom/Elaichi – 5 to 6pods
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda – 1/2 tsp
Green Tea Leaves 6 teaspoon
Star anise (Badyaan flower) 2 medium size
For serving fine chopped almonds ad pistachios as desired
The tea used for Kashmiri Chai is easily available in Lahore & Islamabad with the name ‘Kashmiri Chai’ leaves, with Gul-e-Nasreen also being a popular brand. In Karachi, the best leaves found are at Empress market. The Gul Bahar (available in a green sachet) brand by Tapal easily available in Karachi supermarkets can also be used.
1. Heat 6 cups of water in a big sauce pan; make sure that the sauce pan is big enough because you need to use a spoon to pour the mixture from the top so its best to have a big sauce pan to begin with. Once it reaches a boil, add 6 tsp of green tea leaves.
2. Lower heat to medium and cook for at least 10 minutes; the mixture will reduce to about half from the initial amount (you can also check from the initial mark made on the side of the pot). Add cardamom pod ,star anise and salt for flavor.
2–let it boil.
3. Add 2-3 pinches of baking soda/meetha soda (approx. 1/2 tsp); this is what creates the pink shade in the Kashmiri Chai but make sure you don’t add a lot because that would make the tea bitter. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat again and it basically turns like a dark brown-slight red color then turn off the heat.
4. Take about 3 cups of cold water (the colder the better so add a few ice-cubes) and add it slowly while taking a cup and pouring and re-pouring the tea from a height; this known as “paitha lagana” in Urdu and you keep on doing it again and again which creates a slight froth on the top of the tea; this is why its best to take a big sauce pan since it does splatter a bit, and the bigger sauce pan makes sure that theres enough space for you to pour and re-pour tea. Do this for about 4-5 minutes and you will notice that as you keep on doing it, the color will turn more red. You can refrigerate it at this stage for 2 to 3 days for later use…
Creating the pink color
5. Once the color turns red, then strain the mixture into another sauce pan. Then add milk to taste ,or 1 and 1/2 litre but the more milk you add, the color will turn pinker and it will also taste more creamier so its a bit upto your taste, but make sure you taste just so that it doesn’t end up being too watery.Add sugar to taste (She added 4 tbsp). Put on heat again, till the Kashmiri Chai reaches a boil and then pour into mugs/tea cups. She kept boiling for 2-3 minutes because it creates a bit more forth and cream on top, but just make sure it doesn’t boil over.
6. Add crushed almonds & pista’s for garnish and more sugar based on individual taste; For added taste, you can add fresh cream on top as well.
Note: The real Kashmiri style chai by the Kashmiri’s always has salt in it and never salt. Its actually considered a travesty to add sugar to it. But this is the recipe of Karachi’s wedding style tea which is so famous in Karachi…