Kashmiri Pink Tea

I don’t even know where to begin… I got obsessed with this tea when my neighborhood Indian chaat store (savory Indian street snacks) started offering Kashmiri Pink Tea.  I searched online different recipes of this tea and let me tell you, I probably spent few hours trying to perfect this tea.  I must have tried 3 different versions of this recipe, all failed (meaning, it didn’t produce the “pink” hue that this tea is supposed to have), then I started experimenting combining the recipes.  To be honest, I don’t even know where I got the recipes from and which recipes I combined.  If you’re reading this and if this happens to be similar to your recipe, please accept my deep apology, but please be assured I was faithful and true to this Kashmiri Pink Tea!! 

For my pro-photography session, I decided to make this tea so that I can show the pinkness of this tea without playing with artificial colors or photoshopping. 

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(Photographer: Richard “Dexter” Wuest; Food Stylist: Chris Koch)

Before I go into the actual recipe let me tell you what works (based on my hours of experimenting):
1.  DO NOT use decaffeinated green tea or green tea bags, only use regular loose green tea leaves.
2.  No other milk other than the whole (full fat) milk will work!
3.  Right amount of baking soda makes all the difference! Baking soda is the key ingredient to turn this tea pink!  When I say “pinch”, it means pinch (if you can grab just enough with your thumb, index finger and your middle finger, that should be close to a pinch).
4.  Another key thing for the pinkness of this tea is “whisking” – you’ll see where you have to whisk below. 
5.  You need patience!!

Makes 1 serving:

4 cups water (divided into 2 cups each)
2-3 teaspoons green tea leaves (DO NOT use the tea bags)
salt/sugar, according to your taste
4 green cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups milk (whole milk)
Pinch of baking soda
Crushed pistachio

Add 2 cups water , green tea, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon stick, and baking soda in a medium size pot.  Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until water is reduced to half. 

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Add 2 more cups of water and bring to a boil.  Stir the mixture and let it simmer for 15 more minutes.  After this, as the mixture simmers take a small whisk and whisk the tea mixture for 5 minutes (don’t have to be vigorous about it, just leisurely whisk). 

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(see how the color has turned to reddish pink?)

In a separate pot, heat the milk and bring to a boil and simmer.  Meanwhile, strain the green tea and spices from the tea.  Gradually pour the milk into the tea and when the color turns pinkish you can stop pouring the milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer again for 10 more minutes (stirring continuously). 

Pour some tea into a cup and either froth some milk (if you have a strong enough frother), or add a dollop of whipped cream onto of the tea and add some crushed pistachios.   I didn’t have to add any sugar to this, but if you wish you can add some sugar or salt (yes, traditionally salt is added to this tea). 

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(Photographer: Richard “Dexter” Wuest; Food Stylist: Chris Koch)

My opinion:  Seriously, how difficult is it to make some tea?? Well, I felt like I climbed Mt. Everest with this one.  I felt very frustrated, defeated, and just more determined than ever!  But a feeling of accomplishment was great when my tea finally turned pink and tasted like the Kashmiri pink tea I bought at an Indian chaat store!!  Yes, this is time intensive, and if you don’t love and appreciate tea or Indian/Pakistani style tea, then I would say just buy at an Indian restaurant (if they have this).  However, if you’re like me and the curiosity overtakes you, this is a great recipe project for you!!

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4 thoughts on “Kashmiri Pink Tea

  1. Thank you for the comment; this took quite a few trials and errors on my part too. At the beginning of the recipe I wrote down what really works with the recipe. There are few components which are : selecting the right type of tea, using full fat milk, using the right amount of baking soda and whisking. With the amount of work put into this tea most people may not want to try, but it's such a treat and we love the taste! Do let me know if you try this again and if you have success!

    • Hi, I would suggest you make the regular portion first and once you get the hang of it you can double or triple the recipe. This is not a difficult recipe, but the timing is a bit tricky. Good luck!

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