Kashmir is not only known for its unrivalled natural beauty — snow-covered mountain peaks, blue rivers and rich culture — but also for its mouthwatering traditional food like rogan josh, dum olav, matschgand, goshtaba, modur pulav, aab gosht and many more.
To wash all the lovely food down, the Kashmiris have a special pink-coloured tea called noon chai which has a creamy, buttery and slightly thick consistency but is thin enough to sip gently.
The word noon means salt in Kashmiri and several other Indo-Aryan languages such as Bengali, Rajasthani and Nepali. That’s why one can easily guess that traditional Kashmiri noon chai will be salty. Yes, if tea can be sugarless then why not salty? However, sugar can be added if one prefers their chai sweet.
The popularity of noon chai across the South Asia region can be guaged by the many names it is known by. Noon chai is also served in many parts of Pakistan as Kashmiri chai, often with sugar and nuts at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter months. Kashmiri people in Pakistan also call it sabz chai. It is also served in Afghanistan, where it is known as shor chai. Pink tea and sheer chai are also Kashmiri chais by another name.
- 4 cups of water (2 cups of cold water)
- 2 to 3 tsp green tea leaves
- Salt and/or sugar (according to your taste)
- 4 green cardamoms
- 2 cups milk
- A pinch of baking soda or saffron (for the beautiful pink hue)
- Crushed dry fruits (almonds and pistachios preferably)
- Cream (optional)
Pour two cups water in a pot and make sure that the pot you are using has a broad base. Crush green cardamoms in your hand until seeds come out. Add both the seeds and shell in the water. Add the green tea leaves. Add baking soda or saffron; it will give the pink colour to the tea.
Let the mixture simmer and boil for about 20 minutes until the water is reduced to half. Now add two cups of cold water while it’s boiling and stir the mixture. After adding water, let it simmer for five to 10 minutes. While it simmers, boil the milk in another pot (you can add more cardamoms to milk, if you want). Keep stirring the mixture.
Add the tea mixture to the milk. Then add salt or sugar or both, according to your preference. Keep boiling the tea; the more you boil, the stronger the tea will be. Now finally pour tea in cups, add crushed dry fruits and enjoy a hot cup of noon chai.
Posted On Public Hours December 24th, 2019