Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kashmeri Sabz Chai- Pink Tea

Kashmiri Sabz Chai- a traditional beverage from Kashmir region which is pink in color but is made by brewing dried tea leaves. The leaves are dark green in color hence the name Sabz (green in Urdu) Chai (tea in Urdu)
You know winters are here when this tea is brewed in a Kashmiri household. Aromatic Kashmiri 'Sabz chai', laced with powdered/crushed nuts is a popular hot beverage that we never run out of at ours the entire winter season. A wholesome breakfast accompaniment to soak buttery Baaqer Khaani (flaky puff pastry baked in a Tandoor- large clay oven) in it and devouring or leisurely sipping it with dry fruits, nuts while toasting in front of the heater. Dunking your Naan Khataai in this pink goodness as a teatime snack or serving it along with Gajjer ka Halwa to the guests. A beverage served at the weddings to enhance the grandeur of the festivities or just to have it as a wonderful way to end any meal; you name it and the delicious options are endless. 
Being a Kashmiri myself, I've always seen this tea being not only enjoyed during winters but served to the guests as well. Its traditionally served salty but some people like having it sweet. We've always liked it saltish but you can keep the sugar pot along with the cups for those who'd like having a bit of sweetness in their Sabz Chai. For extra richness, some people like to top their cup of Sabz Chai with some Malai (fresh/clotted cream) but its a personal choice, not a must and I like it sans Malai.

My mother is a Pathan but my late Nani Ma Jee (maternal grandmother) was a Kashmiri therefore, she had seen her making this tea since her childhood. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to witness that myself but I have seen my mother making it all my life. If you are a regular follower of my blog then you must be familiar with my obsession with tea by now. That's why for the love of tea, it was impossible that I wouldn't have had learnt making this palatable beverage :D besides, making this tea is like a must-know art in our family and Alhumdulilah (Thank God), we never go wrong with obtaining that 'tea pink' color of the Kehwa (brewed tea)
There are some rules, technicalities and careful attention required in successfully making this tea but once you get hold of them, you can never go wrong again. Plus, the bonus point of going through the 'hassle' is that you can referigerate the prepared and strained Kehwa in an airtight glass bottle to enjoy a cuppa up till a week! isn't it great? Yes, I know, it's awesome! :D

So shall we begin with the steps? Cooks, let the 'Chai lover' in you get unleashed! :D

Kashmiri Sabz Chai- Pink Tea


Water: (at room temperature) 3 cups
Water: (cold) 2 cups
Kashmiri green tea leaves :(any good quality brand. See below for the picture) 1 tbsp., heaping full. 
Star Anis: 2 pieces
Green Cardamoms: 4 pods
Salt: 2 tsp or according to taste
Sugar: according to taste (optional)
Full fat Milk: 2 cups/500 ml
Chopped/Crushed/powdered nuts: for garnishing

Malai (Fresh/clotted Cream): for garnishing (optional)
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, add tea leaves, 1 star anise, 2 green cardamom pods, 1 tsp salt along with 3 cups of water (at room temp)
  2. Bring to a boil over high flame. Reduce the flame and let it simmer for 30 minutes or till the quantity reduces to the half of it.
  3. Turn off the flame and add remaining 2 cups of the water (cold) to the boiled Kehwa 
  4. Take some Kehwa in a ladle and pour it back into the rest of the prepared Kehwa from some height (as shown in the picture) this way, air will oxidize the brewed tea and it will gradually turn into reddish color. This process is called 'Phaintna'- beating. Repeat the process a couple of times to obtain the rich, vibrant color. 

5. Put the pot back on a medium flame, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 2,3 minutes. Strain the Kehwa and keep aside.
6. Pour the milk in another heavy-based pot, put the remaining salt, star anise, cardamoms and bring it to a boil.
7. Add about 1-2 cups of the brewed Kehwa to the milk, depending on the desired richness and color of the Chai.
8. Let the Chai boil and then simmer on a low flame for 4-5 minutes.
9. Now pour into cups, sprinkle some nuts on top and serve piping hot along with sugar for those who'd like it sweet. Add a dollop of Malai on top, if using.
Serves 3-4

Remaining Kehwa can be stored in a glass bottle. Can stay good refrigerated up till a week.


1. Always use water at room-temperature for perfect Kehwa
2. If you feel that the desired color is not obtained then while the Kehwa boils, add a pinch of Bi-Carbonate of Soda to it before doing the cold water step.
3. Cardamom stick can be used instead of star anise but traditionally, star anise is added.
4. Always store the Kehwa strained and in an air-tight glass jar. Keep it refrigerated. If you have added Bi-Carbonate of Soda, then better to consume it within a day or two as it may change in color if kept for long.
5. We use Tapal brand but you can use any good quality brand of 'Keshmiri Green Tea' leaves. Avoid using the loose tea leaves without any label that's commonly sold at any retail/spice shop.

That's all my dear readers! :) The amount of salt, sugar and the quantity of Kehwa and milk can always be adjusted according to your taste and desire. I hope you enjoy making and having it. Until next time, keep sharing the goodness of this greatest blessing, that has been bestowed in abundance upon us the lucky ones, with the less fortunate ones.
Thank you and please remember in your Du'as/prayers! :)

*Not be duplicated, rewritten or published without permission- Thank you! 





  1. Well, you've done it again. You have managed to entice me with your story and your recipe. This tea is absolutely gorgeous... I love the pink colour; such a warming and cozy looking beverage. You always impress me with your recipes, and don't ever stop sharing stories about your life and family. It's beautiful to read!

    1. I'm glad to hear that! :) Thanks so much for liking both my recipes and the stories; really appreciate that! :)

  2. I have heard a lot about this gorgeous looking tea but never had a chance to Taste it. Will surely taste some day. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe with your lovely write up.

    1. It's really easy to make at home, Preethi and you should give it a try someday. I hope you like it :)
      Thanks very much for appreciating! :)

  3. I love tea and have heard about the salty tea from Kashmir but never that was this pretty pink tea :(

    1. It's really delicious, Razena sis! You should try it someday and I'm certain you'd love it :) The pink color does look very pretty :)

  4. I'm a tea drinker and I love kashmiri chai. Its so comforting!

    1. It indeed is, Priya! :)
      Thank you for stopping by! :)

  5. Very interesting tea and the color is really cool! I have never seen pink tea before!

  6. I love trying different types of tea! I can't wait to experience this .. I never heard of pink tea before. Thank you for sharing

    1. I'm the same! Please do try this one too and I hope you like it. Do let me know if you give it a try :)
      Thanks for liking! :)


    1. You can ask at the local grocery store or Google to check if it's available online.