Tea-Tea Par’tea' - Pink Chai Breast Cancer Awareness
Pink Chai for a Cause.
In a global effort to raise awareness about breast cancer, October has been designated- breast cancer awareness month. Pink is the color for the cause, so we wanted to start off this month with The Chai Bar's famous Kashmiri Pink Chai.
Please note, we will donate 5% of proceeds from the sale of Kashmiri Pink Chai from October 1st to October 31st to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
So what is The Chai Bar's Kashmiri Pink Chai?
Traditionally named "Gulabi Chai", which translates to Pink Chai, this blend is made using pretty pink rose petals layered with green tea, and spices. This is a smooth and elegant brew. With a floral bouquet of rosy notes, a hint of nuttiness, a dash of cinnamon, and a sprinkle of star anise, it is the perfect blend of cardamom and rose. This chai is also known as noon chai.
Intrigued by the attractive ‘pink’ color Madura first tried this chai when she was in college and learned to brew it from her best friend's mother.
Taste: Head Notes: Floral, mildly spicy;
Body Notes: Nutty and earthy;
Tail Notes: Light hints of spice.
This is a fan favorite blend, sweet, salty, creamy, and nutty. In terms of flavor, it compares to Spanish hot chocolate or white hot chocolate but is still very different.
As the name suggests, this chai originated in Kashmir, the northernmost part of India where the temperature in winters dips down to -30°C / -22°F. So, this hot, creamy, and spicy drink is perfect for the cooler months. A steaming cup of this tea is sure to warm you up from within.
A must Try, an absolute treat to eyes and taste buds this famous blend gained popularity when Madura sold freshly brewed chai at the local Philly farmers market. People loved this chai so much that the concept of selling the blend emerged from the demand for the chai.
On opening the box your space will be filled with the blissful scent of cardamom. The first sip will transport your tastebuds to a snowy mountaintop with grassy green slopes full of Gulmohar flowers.
If we haven't tempted you enough, the pretty pink color of this chai garnished with rose petals and pistachios makes for a beautiful Instagram photo!
Aroma: Sweet & Spicy
Color: Vibrant to light dusty pink.
The Chai Bar Kashmiri Pink Chai does not have any added pigment or food color. Unlike some dipping bags that would give you a chai that is a neon almost highlighter pink, our chai blend results in a beautiful dusty fuchsia tea. We highly recommend you make Kashmiri Pink Chai using a non pigmented blend.
So how does this tea get the pink color?
It's all in the method of preparation and aeration. Traditionally this method is called "pulling" Read the recipe below for detailed instructions. If you follow the traditional recipe, it is simply the oxidation that results in the change of color. In the modern quicker recipe, you could use baking soda to develop the color quicker.
So what is pulling?
This is simply the process of aeration. Take the chai in one pot and pour it into another pot from a height of about 2 ft.. Continue pouring it back and forth repeatedly between the two vessels using a cup or a ladle to achieve a frothy consistency and develop the aroma of the spices.
Pouring it from a height is an acquired skill so if you are a beginner or trying this for the first time please ensure to pour the chai from about 15 - 30 cm high.
If you want to avoid the mess of traditional "pulling" you can use a Vitamix, an immersion blender, or even a heavy-duty electric egg beater.
However note, a hand whisk just doesn't do it for this recipe.
A few Tea'ps:
For best results, ensure the tea blend is fresh. So if you have a blend that's been sitting in your pantry for over a year, chances are, it's not going to develop the same color and the flavor profile of the spices would have diminished.
Usually, we have sugar alternatives for our chai recipe but this particular recipe calls for sugar and we would not recommend replacing it with any alternative like agave/jaggery/maple syrup, etc, tealeaf us, we've tried it all so if you have dietary restrictions, reduce the quantity of sugar or skip the sugar entirely and drink this as an almost savory chai. (Please note, if you are skipping the sugar reduce the salt to taste.)
Traditionally, this chai would be made by first making Kahwa / Kava (the base of the chai). The basic ingredients would be boiled for hours and reduced down then shocked with ice water and reduced down, time and again until it reduced to 1/3rd its original quantity.
As much as we love this drink, we don't always have the time to make it the traditional way but we do recommend you try both ways to decide which one you prefer. After all Kashmiri Pink Chai is a treat and not your same'ol daily chai so sometimes the hours of simmering is worth the effort.
A couple of weeks back we showed you how to make the perfect chai, assuming you've been practicing every day, we have upped the difficulty level a notch and today we are showing you how to make Kashmiri Pink Chai. So, let's get to it and make some of this tealicious brew.
(for the modern recipe you will also need) 0.5 – 1 tsp baking soda
2 metal cups for chai pulling
1 big pot (use at least a 6-quart pot for this) + 1 medium size pot of 2 to 3 quart
Heat resistant gloves
PART I/III - TO MAKE KAVA/ KAHWA :
Step 1: Add The Chai Bar - Astrakadir Green Tea Blend to a 6 quart size pot of water and bring it to a boil on medium to high flame.
Make sure to use a cup measure the first few times. Too much water and your tea will not turn out as creamy or flavorful as we'd like.
Step 2: Using a ladle and keep stirring this mix.
Step 3: When the water has reduced to 25%, add 2 cups of ice-cold water to shock the tea. *make sure it is ice-cold and not tap-cold.
Step 4: Repeat the shocking process 3 to 4 times or until you see dark brown/maroon color develop.
Step 5: Strain your chai and pull using two metal cups. (It's a very important step, do not skip)
PART II/III- TO MAKE CHAI
Step 6: Add milk, heavy cream, and sugar to another pot and bring it to a boil.
TEA'P: If you're using plant-based milk please use 5 cups Coconut milk and 2 cups coconut cream.
Step 7: Add kahwa to the milk mixture and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes.
Step 8: Turn off the stove and salt + rose water
PART III/III- GARNISH
Step 9: Simply sprinkle some rose petals, almonds, and pistachios on top of the chai
TEA'P: If you have a nut allergy, you could make a rose sugar garnish by melting down some sugar and dipping rose petals in it.
TEA'P: You can pre-make the tea base and store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Before serving, add milk, salt, and sugar then boil it for about 10 mins. And your lovely ‘Kashmiri Pink Chai’ is ready.
Modern Method (w. pictures and videos):
Step 1: Add 4 cups of water and Astrakadir green tea blend to a big 6-quart pot, place it on a high flame heat setting and boil it for 8 to 10 mins.
Step 2: Add baking soda and stir well. Keep boiling and stirring for another 2 mins.
Step 3: Add ice and 2 cups of cold water. Keep stirring. You should see a dark maroon color by now. Boil for 5 minutes more.
Step 4: Strain it in another pot (add more hot water if the brew has reduced to less than 4 cups) and using two metal cups do the chai pulling.
Transferring hot Kahwa / Kashmiri Pink Chai base to pulling cup -
Chai pulling for beginners -
Kashmiri Chai pulling for experts -
Difference between hand-pulled vs Vitamix -
Step 5: Transfer the pulled chai in-to a 2 to 3 quart medium-sized pot.
(TEA'P: Try not to use a wide pot to avoid the mixture evaporating faster than we would like.)
Step 6: Add milk, heavy cream, and sugar. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 5 mins. *You can reduce the quantity of sugar but we would not recommend replacing it with any other natural sweetener for this chai.
Step 7: Turn off the stove, add salt, and rose water.
Step 8: Garnish with sliced nuts and rose petals.
Do make sure to tune in The Chai Bar on Instagram this Friday - 10/02/2020 at 3 pm to watch Madura make her famous Kashmiri Pink Chai.
We hope you enjoy this savory chai as much as we do! Please feel free to ask us any questions on Pink Chai in the comments below.
And ladies, we know that it can be hard to get regular health checkups amidst the global pandemic but in the spirit of Pink Month, we must remind you to make sure to get regular mammograms done for the time being feel your lumps and save your bumps!
Co-authored by Sargam Merchant and Madura Chaudhari