Noon Chai

INDIA

From the natural pink color to its savory taste, this traditional Kashmiri tea is a surprise at every turn

SUBMITTED BY

Ovee

Have you heard of Noon Chai? It’s a dusty pink colored, salted green tea from Kashmir that is truly unique and unlike any other tea.

Ovee, who has been living in Srinagar, Kashmir for over a year, submitted this special tea. For the locals in Kashmir, Noon Chai is an integral part of their daily culture and traditions. Ovee spoke about how her mother-in-law would brew up this pink tea, recounting the memories of nostalgia.

The tea gets its rosy color by simmering green tea leaves with baking soda for a looooong time!. The extended cooking extracts the green chlorophyll color, which turns pink when it mixes with the baking soda. It’s a fascinating process.

I’m not kidding when I say making this tea is an epic process. Once you strain the concentrated tea, you mix it with warm milk and a few pinches of salt to make the final cup. The salty-savory green tea flavor contrasted so uniquely with the pink hue.

While this laborious tea-making may seem crazy, it’s clearly a beloved ritual in Kashmir’s tea culture. As Ovee explained, sharing tea is a way for people to connect, relax and hit pause. And let me tell you, sipping on that velvety, rose-hued Noon Chai did inspire me to savor the moment.

Yes, this tea requires some serious effort in the kitchen. But those moments of tranquility when savoring a mug of tea make all the work worthwhile. It’s a gentle reminder to slow down once in a while.

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Ingredients
  

For the tea concentrate

  • 2 Tbsp whole green tea leaves
  • 5 cups water plus more for additional boiling
  • 1 generous pinch baking soda

To serve

  • ¼ cup milk of your choice
  • 2-3 pinches salt

Instructions
 

For tea concentrate

  • In a pot, combine tea leaves, 5 cups water, and baking soda. Bring to a boil.
  • Simmer and keep boiling till almost all of the water is evaporated and only a cup or so remains, this will take about half an hour. Once it is reduced, add more water to make it its original volume and boil it again till half of it is evaporated.
  • Top for the third time with cold water to make it its original volume. Put back on the heat and keep mixing it with a ladle, frothing it till it gets a good boil. Then take it off heat. It should look dark red in color because of the chemical reaction between the baking soda and chlorophyll in the tea leaves. Either us right away or cool and store in the fridge to heat and make a cup of tea later.

For serving

  • For one cup of tea, heat ¾ cup of tea concentrate with milk and 2-3 pinches of salt (or according your preference). Serve warm!
Course: Drink
Region: Asia

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Noon Chai

From the natural pink color to its savory taste, this traditional Kashmiri tea is a surprise at every turn