Daily Recco, May 21: Try the Kashmiri Kahwah on International Tea Day
On International Tea Day, move beyond the cup of chai and experiment with this Samovar of goodness straight from the Valley.
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Whether you wake up feeling tired, blue, upbeat, stressed or rested, no morning (or any time of the day) is complete without that cup of tea. Or chai, as we know it. No matter how stressed you might be at work, there is (and should be) always time for a chai break. However, did you know that there is a lot more to tea than just 'chai'? And we do not mean to denigrate the chai in any which way before you get us wrong.
It is International Tea Day today. And what better day to explore the world of teas beyond the comfortable cuppa chai. Teas go beyond the chai patti you bought with your groceries last month. There are many varieties including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, puer tea and dark tea. And all these varieties are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, native to Southeast Asia.
The leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. (Photo: Getty Images)
However, the beverages we call “herbal tea” (peppermint, chamomile, lavender, matcha, hibiscus etc.) are not exactly teas, strictly speaking. However, we accept the phrase and don’t want to correct you for labelling them as teas. Theoretically speaking, any tea plant growing anywhere in the world can have its leaves made into any kind of tea. However, we all know the difference in taste between the chai patti from the grocer and the leaves from Darjeeling. And that is why we say that geography, growing conditions and local expertise are critical factors to get that perfect cuppa.
Today, we will take you to Kashmir that has perfected the kind of tea most suitable for the conditions and ingredients available there. Much like the valley, this particular tea will leave you with a beautiful taste. The Kahwah.
Goodness of the Valley brewed in the Samovar. (Photo: Getty Images)
Not limited to Kashmir, Kahwah has its variants across Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Central Asia, besides the Valley.
This hot and comforting cup of goodness is an exotic mix of Kashmiri green tea leaves simmered in water with saffron, spices and nuts, traditionally in a brass kettle known as the Samovar. With no further ado, let us take you through the process.
What you’ll need:
Three tablespoons of kahwa tea leaves
One tablespoon of broken cinnamon sticks
Half a tablespoon of cardamom
A gram of saffron
Four cups of water
Two to three tablespoons of Slivered almonds to garnish
Sugar or honey to taste
Savour the Kahwah, the tea brewed with spices, with a generous garnish of almonds.
Boil the water and when it comes to a rolling boil, add the cinnamon and the cardamom. Let it boil for about five minutes.
Now add the saffron and tea leaves and immediately remove from the flame. Stir in the sugar (or honey). Remember to not let the leaves boil, for they will then leave a bitter aftertaste.
Cover the pan with a lid and let it brew for another five minutes.
Strain the tea into cups and add slivered almonds to garnish.
Serve piping hot.