Noon Chai / Salty Tea / Pink Tea – Kashmiri Namkeen Chai


Noon Chai, Namkeen Chai, kashmiri salty tea, pink tea

The above picture was taken long back; Badi Mami made it.The following recipe is for 4 cups chai by Aunty Sara.

Noon chai is also called pink chai (pink tea – look at the picture, incase you are wondering, why the name). It is salty in taste and also called Namkeen (salty) chai. In Kashmir, they only put salt, but I think in Pakistan they add salt and sugar. In Pakistan, they also add nuts like almonds and pistachios while serving.

Noon chai with soda
For this type of chai, there is special kind of tea leaves, they are bought from Kashmir/Pakistan. And you would also need baking soda, very little though.

If you are having this chai for the first time, you might want to have it with Puff pastries or croissants dipped in the tea. It has digestive properties, Aunty Sara said so, :) I think I would need something else after this for digestion, it is very rich and filling.

Last night I finally got the recipe from Aunty Sara. I got a lot more recipes from her. Just be patient, I should have them up in some time.
Ingredients:

For 4 cups:
2 tsp Noon chai leaves,
1/4 tsp baking soda (in Kashmir, you could use less soda, because of the difference in the water),
1 or more cup, whole fat milk, in US use Half and Half for best results
6-8 cups water for cooking the tea

Method:

Step 1: First put the tea leaves to boil with a little water (about a cup and half), till the water practically boils off, (about 20 mins), on Medium heat.

Noon chai
Step 2: Again add about a cup and half water, again boil off the water. The tea leaves should be cooked by now, when you pick out the leaves, they will be mushy. (On Medium Heat)
Step 3: Add 3 and half cups of water and boil again for a nice long time on slow heat. Add the baking soda now. I think you could even add the soda at the beginning. Its alright. While the tea is cooking, use a ladle to stir, and aerate the tea, (look at the picture); few times. Doing this will impart the pink color to your tea. (Cook on simmer, for about 45 minutes)
Step 4: Finally when you are ready to serve, add the milk and get it to a boil, add the salt, about 1-2 tsp. (If someone wants sugar, seperate the tea, add sugar)

Notes: I think this tea takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. So be patient. The first time, I made this, I got bored, and I did not listen to my Mother in law, the tea tasted bitter, and I threw it.

Also, if you would like to make concentrate of this, and store, you can do it. After step 2, transfer the tea with the leaves in it, in a bottle, and refrigerate. When you are ready to use it, continue from step 3. Good tip, huh?


24 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. It is the best kashmiri tea I have had in years!

    April 17th, 2007

  2. iqbal

    thank you for the nice rereciep when i will cook i wll let you know. but i tried so many reciepee for the pink tea but fail let see your.
    good by

    December 26th, 2009

  3. Mushtaq Ahmed Jan

    Assallam u Allikum,

    Thanks a lot, I tried before many times but failed, but today with your help I made it.

    Thanks a real lot.

    May Allah Bless you.

    Mushtaq

    March 27th, 2010

  4. VV

    Walaikum Salaam,

    I am happy you could make it. I love noon chai! I am going to get Meeth (sweet) chai recipe soon. After that, I will post it. You must try that then. It is full of dry fruits, coconut, its so delicious. Its almost like a sweet dish.

    Thanks for your comment,
    vv

    March 27th, 2010

  5. nisar anim

    I am the whole sale dealear of noon chai and ctc tea in srinagar kashmir this is the best recipe for making a pink(noon) chai. thanx a lot. NooN Chai is good for health. i luv noon chai…

    April 3rd, 2010

  6. VV

    Thank you!!

    Oh you are a whole saler, then you must be having the best noon chai all the time. Lucky you!

    Thanks for the comment.
    vv

    April 4th, 2010

  7. E

    Thanks for the detailed recipe–I’m looking forward to making it. I do have one small question: when should the tea leaves be removed? After step 2 or after the final simmer right before adding milk? Thanks again!

    February 3rd, 2013

  8. VV

    I think you dont have to remove the leaves till the very last! Strain them after you add milk. :) Thanks for your comment E!

    February 3rd, 2013

  9. Samia

    Thank you for providing the recipe…I have made this tea three times already. My family and I enjoyed it. I made a few changes to the recipe. I added less baking soda, and did not add salt. Thank you, once again. The tea was lovely.

    February 8th, 2013

  10. VV

    Yeah Samia!!

    I am very happy for you!

    Actually less baking soda is recommended, but I never get the famous pink color of the chai easily, hence I end up putting a tad bit more. Also, yes, definitely the chai can be made with sugar instead of salt (its then called meeth chai , sweet chai)

    Thanks for your lovely comment.

    February 9th, 2013

  11. Samia

    I thought perhaps by adding less, the color would not be the same…but it turned out to be fine :]. I decided to do that because the smell and taste of the baking soda was strong. I make the tea plain, and keep salt and sugar on the side. Also, I add one cardamom/elaichi pod for additional taste and aroma. I use whole milk, but I may try it w/half & half one day when I want to indulge…Hehe.

    February 10th, 2013

  12. VV

    Thanks again Samia for your input!!!

    You know thats a very good idea, if people like their noon chai salty, they can add salt, and if they like it sweet, they can have that option!

    You know along with the spices, you could add desiccated coconut to the tea (only if everyone is going to have it sweet). It makes it more rich in taste. Then as I had mentioned earlier, it is called meeth chai. And ofcourse, dont forget the half and half that day!

    Take care, and enjoy noon chai with Harissa. :)

    February 11th, 2013

  13. Samia

    Oh wow, thanx for the idea. I’ll try it w/the desiccated coconut next time. Should I strain it too? I have some that I recently bought for coconut macaroons…which I served w/noon chai. I made it today as well, and served it with teacakes. How often do you all drink noon chai, it has become one of my favs, along w/masala chai. By the way, what is Harissa?

    February 13th, 2013

  14. VV

    Hello again Samia,

    If you like a little crunch in your mouth, you dont strain the coconut.

    I love meeth chai! You should try this. And I will confirm with my mother in law, but I think, you also add khus khus.

    Its just amazing!

    Harissa is a delicacy made with goat meat.

    Here is the recipe:
    http://www.lifensuch.com/harissa-hareesa-kashmiri-recipe.htm

    You have to give it a try, actually the 3 absolutely main ingredients for it are: cinnamon, fennel (saunf) and brown cardamoms.

    You need to try it, its not like ‘haleem’, but kind of same consistency, in fact I have made it this weekend, I will put up a picture for you!

    Take care!

    February 15th, 2013

  15. Aniqua

    Hi there. I sounds good and the comments are very nice too. It different from what I have done and seen being done at my parents throughout. My life but I ll give this a ago . Just asking you didn’t tell anything about the leaves . What to do after it’s aerated and all. When do you take the leaves or strain it out ?
    The second thing is ,you were not clear when to aerate it ,on the stove with flame on or after it’s cooked and then aerate it briskly with cold water in?
    Please guide if you can
    Thanks

    October 9th, 2013

  16. Aniqua

    Please let me know whether to sieve out the boiled leaves after aerating or not ?
    Whether aerating is done while the tea is being cooked on the stove or after it is reduced in quantity ,off the stove with cold water in it ?
    Thanks

    October 9th, 2013

  17. VV

    Hello Aniqua,

    Thanks for the comments. Yes, you aerate it, I meant when its cooking on the stove. Also, either you strain (sieve) out the leaves right before you serve, or if you are going to store in refrigerator for sometime.

    It can stay upto a month in refrigerator, but dont add milk. Only add milk when you are going to drink it.

    Thanks again, I hope I helped!

    October 10th, 2013

  18. Hi,

    I found your blog through a Wikipedia link (if you are on Wikipedia, you have made it :) !). I was looking for information on Kashmiri tea.

    I am not from Kashmir but I have always been fascinated by the place. I had Kashmiri roommates in college.

    I love chai and, in fact, lots of different kinds of tea. I have posted items on my blog related to tea. About a year ago, I picked up a jar of Kashmiri tea out of curiosity. I made it once, but it was too weak for me. As I have run out of my traditional loose tea, I went ahead and prepared some Kashmiri tea in the regular chai way. It is bitter but with milk, cardamom, sugar and cinnamon, it still tastes good. I kind of like the bitterness in tea, coffee and cocoa so I am okay with it.

    I’ll definitely try your recipe and serve it with puff pastries:). Yummy!

    Great blog, I’ll pop back in some time.

    November 15th, 2013

  19. VV

    Hi Lakshmi,

    Thanks for your comment! You are funny and kind. Infact too kind, but thanks for the compliment.

    The noon chai has to be cooked for a good amount of time, if it is bitter, it means it has to be cooked more. Learn from my mistakes! The first time I cooked the chai for sometime, but not enough, and I threw it all.

    So instead of throwing it I should have cooked it some more time. :) That’s it!

    Follow my recipe perfectly, you should get it right.

    But apart from this food business, I had to check out your blog, and I have to say, for a saturday morning a blog like yours, certainly is the food I need, I am impressed. I skimmed through, sorry no pun intended, but I cant wait to read your insights!

    Take care,
    Pop in anytime!

    November 16th, 2013

  20. Hi VV,

    Thanks a lot for your compliments, too. I seriously meant it – your blog is very good, smart, funny and informative.

    You made my day!

    November 16th, 2013

  21. Shafat

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. If someone is looking to get the tea leaves for ‘noon chai’ in Toronto, Ontario, it is available in IQBAL HALAL FOODS in Thorncliffe. I was buying groceries there and suddenly saw the packet saying “Kashmiri Tea” and just grabbed a few of these. Too good.
    Thanks again.

    November 25th, 2013

  22. VV

    Thank you Shafat,

    Your information will help everyone in Toronto :) You are very kind for sharing this with us.

    Thanks again!

    November 25th, 2013

  23. kashmir non chay best in world with out tis tea nothing is possible

    March 22nd, 2014

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