I have always been a tea addict. Like always!
And yet I have realized that the classic heaviness of milky teas has weighed me down, besides the harm which the caffeine inflicts upon my body. But the cravings!
My search for a drink which could quench my thirst for tea and yet protect my body from harm led me to a drink which has been deeply rooted into my Kashmiri culture since times immemorial – The Magical Kahwa.
For those who have never tasted it, the Kahwa is a Kashmiri version of green tea with a subtly sweet and aromatic flavor, infused with delicate whole spices. This magical concoction of a drink is brewed by natural ingredients like cinnamon, green cardamom, green tea and cloves, with the added goodness of Kashmiri almonds. The heavenly drink has a light green hue, which turns to gold in the presence of saffron. One sip of the delightful Kahwa will take you into a wonderful trance, soothing your senses and replenishing your soul, besides relieving you from all your stress and anxieties. For many, this tea is an embodiment of solace. (I hope I have done justice to my favorite drink with my words).
(Credits: Kashmir Box)
The drink is also consumed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some parts of Central Asia. Irrespective of where it came from, the tea has become a part of Kashmiri culture and no festival or gathering in this part of the world is complete without a “Kahwe Pyaale“ (A Cup of Kahwa), which is brewed in a traditionally large kettle of copper known as “Samavar”. In routine life, it is not feasible to prepare the Kahwa in a Samovar, which is quite large in size. So people like me who like to drink it on a daily basis use an average saucepan instead of the oversized Samavar.
Time for the recipe!
- Take a cup of water in a saucepan and add 3 green cardamom, a hint of cinnamon and a few peppercorns to it.
- When it comes to a boil, simmer it and put the lid on.
- When it gives out flavor, add a pinch of green tea (Kahwe Chai) and saffron and boil for 2 minutes. Simmer for some time.
- Add a few flaked almonds for garnishing and you have yur cup of happiness in your hands!
Needless to say, green tea comes with a whole multitude of health benefits. I don’t want to sound like an online doctor here but the Kashmiri Kahwa does bring some relief for migraines and with liquirice root (locally known as Shangir) added to it, it makes a quick remedy for your colds and coughs.
The Kahwa is generally served with a local crisp bread known as Sheermal, but I don’t really like to pair it with anything. Its subtly sweet taste, made woody by the presence of almonds or walnuts is enough to make my day!