Kashmiri chai

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Also known as noon chai, this amazingly pink beverage is made from the same tea leaves as green tea, but varies dramatically in taste. A bit salty and incredibly creamy, this chai tea is as unique in taste as it is in appearance. The colour comes from the tea reacting with the bicarbonate of soda.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking 10 minutes


  • teaspoons good-quality Kashmiri tea or oolong tea leaves
  • a small pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and roughly crushed
  • 375–500 ml (13–17 fl oz/1½–2 cups) milk
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher sea salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon organic sugar
  • 1–2 teaspoons ground pistachios and almonds, to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds


Place a saucepan over medium heat. Add the tea leaves and 185–250 ml (6–9 fl oz/¾–1 cup) water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 2 minutes, or until frothy.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk vigorously for about 10 seconds, then add another 185–250 ml (6–9 fl oz/ ¾–1 cup) water and the cardamom seeds. Bring back to the boil, then boil for no longer than 5 minutes, until the tea broth becomes a bright red.

Reduce the heat to medium–low and add the milk, whisking very vigorously to achieve a slight froth. The tea should now be a lovely dark pink. If you add more milk, the colour will soften — the choice is yours.

Finally, add the salt and sugar and stir. Pour into four chai tea cups. Sprinkle with the ground nuts and poppy seeds and serve.