Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kashmiri Pink Chai- an Ongoing Experiment

I drank my last cup of authentic kahwa back when I was a kid at the Vaishnavis' residence back in Delhi. Kahwa is Kashmiri chai/tea and is the most delicious type of chai I have ever had. I remember it being a beautiful pink colored concoction, sweet, with a hint of savory, full of nuts and munakka, i.e. golden raisins, and simply delicious. The other evening I suddenly craved for kahwa and decided to make it myself. After searching online, I kind of got the idea. And with great enthusiasm, I began. 


1. Green tea leaves, good quality (not the tea bag kind)- 2-3 tsp 

2. Baking soda- 1/2 tsp

3. Salt- 1/2 tsp

4. Cardamom- 2 pods

5. Almonds, crushed- 2-3 tsp

6. Golden raisins- 7-10 

7. Water- 2 cups

8. Milk- enough to maintain pink color

9. Sugar (optional)- 1/2- 1 tsp 


1. Add 2 cups of water, green tea leaves, and cardamom to a pot. Get the heat going.

Water, Green Tea, Cardamom

2. Bring it to a boil. Add baking soda and stir vigorously for a few seconds, until the water starts turning red! Yes, it will turn red. 

Fun Fact: There's chemistry behind it! 

Green tea reacts with NaHCO3 (Sodium bicarbonate i.e. baking soda) in water and turns red under high temperature. 

I tried and tried to find out the exact reaction that occurs, but I couldn't find it. So for now, I just take joy in the fact that Kashmiri Chai making is in fact a scientific experiment that I can conduct in the comforts of my own kitchen!!   

Baking Soda + Green Tea in Water, boiling temperature= Red!! 

3. Continue boiling for a few more seconds, reduce flame, and start adding milk until a lovely pink color is achieved. Stop. Add salt. Stir. 

Optional: I like my kahwa a bit sweet too, so I add sugar as well. 

4. In a cup with crushed almonds (or pistachios) and golden raisins, pour this lovely pink chai, stir, and enjoy! 

Now for the truth: 

*I have tried making this chai 5 times so far. I was successful twice. 2 out of 5, not bad, I suppose.

*For some reason, I seem to get to the red color stage, but then, after adding milk, it stays pink for a few seconds, and then it just turns brown.

*Taste: Quite delicious 

*BUT: Why doesn't it stay pink?? 

Some pictures: 

Attempt 1: Disaster 

Boiling, froth, looks alright

#1: Disaster!! 

Attempt 2: Not bad.... but still, not quite up to the mark

#2: Nope! 

Attempts 3 and 4: Successful!!

Looking red, looking good! 

#3: Yessss!

Red- good! 

#4: Oh yessss! 

Attempt 5: Disaster!!

#5: What? Where's the pink?? 

Factors to consider for next attempt: 

1. Time (?)
2. Temperature (?)
3. Type of green tea leaves (?)
4. Will figure out.....

Conclusion: I haven't quite mastered the technique and art of making Kashmiri kahwa. It definitely is an experiment of its kind. I suppose practice makes perfect..... so I'll just continue practicing until I experience that eureka! moment.

Oh, most important ingredient: Patience, my friend, patience

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Juice and More

America has a new Mr. President. Wonder how much longer it will take for this "first world" nation to have a Ms. President. Meanwhile, back in my birth country, India, "Operation Black Money" is the talk of the town. Exciting times! Btw, India, a "third world" nation, has had a woman prime minister as well as a woman president..... just saying. And that's about as much politics that I can really talk. Because one- I'm not passionate about politics. 

I have a new addition in my kitchen- a Breville juice machine. It's lovely! Every morning I make fresh juice for the family, my favorite combination being carrots, oranges, apples, and ginger, and a squeeze of lemon juice. The result is an extremely delicious, gorgeous bright orange colored juice. One sip, and you-can't-stop-glugging-it-down-delicious!!! Now here's a fun fact: I call this particular juice, "Sunshine in Seattle." The best part is that the words can be played around with- so for instance, in the morning I call it- "Sunrise in Seattle," in the afternoon- "Sun Shines in Seattle," and if I make it in the evening, "Sunset in Seattle." ;) 

This one I called "Sunshine in a Cup" in the morning: 

"Sunshine in a Cup"

The one thing that I am not too crazy about this new juice machine: the pulp that ends up being wasted. It extracts the juice out of the veggies and fruits, but then you end up with this huge amount of "waste." And every time I discard it into yard waste, I cringe. 

However, here's the good thing: I have started incorporating that "waste" into my cooking, and it is working out quite well. What I do is that I first run the carrots and after the extraction is done, I switch off the machine. Then I gather up the carrot pulp (all the good fiber) and store it in a container for use later. And then I run the rest of the ingredients. 

I am not much into dessert making--- but am sure the fruit "remains" could be very well incorporated into desserts (/baking).

Another idea: Smoothies

The carrot pulp from the morning's juice was later used to make a delicious carrot-peas pilaf.

"Sunshine with Peas"

Delicious Pilaf

I am quite enjoying the early morning juice ritual. It's a little bit of extra work in the mornings, but it's totally worth it. Especially because the kids love it. Apparently it gives them more energy. Maybe it does or maybe it's placebo. Whatever it is, it's all good and delicious.

And because two- Life Goes On!