The thing we love about tea is that it's more than just a drink; it holds memories, habits, comfort, and warmth. It's a staple on cold mornings, a vehicle for good conversation, a reminder of a loved one, and for Anita, co-owner of Herbal Republic, it's a connection to her childhood and mother. In this entry, Anita shares her story of Kashmiri Chai and her mother's essence.
My mother was born in Shrinagar, Kashmir. She was fortunate to have been born into a family whose business was of silks, wool shawls and silk and wool carpets. Kashmir is an area on the northern borders of India and Pakistan and the southwestern border of China. The region is about 85,000 sq. miles in size, and because of the breathtaking mountains scenery, is often referred to as the Switzerland of the East. The people who live in the Kashmir area either farm the very fertile valley or work in the famous Kashmir wool industry, producing shawls and carpets.
When I was growing up, my Mother would describe life in Kashmir – the tasty foods, the daily routines, and the beautiful hills and mountains. One of my fondest memories of childhood is watching my mother make Kashmiri Chai, and when we were old enough, taking the first sip of the spicy, creamy drink on a cold winter afternoon. When older, we would drink our Kashmiri Chai as a kahwa (without milk or cream). The wonderful warming aroma of the chai would fill our home and we would all gather for our Kashmiri Chai and Mummy's stories of her childhood. Even today, when I see my mother we talk of Kashmir and her childhood memories and still enjoy her Kawha.
There are many varieties of kahwa to be enjoyed. Like any other Kashmiri Chai, kahwa is also prepared in a brass kettle which is perpetually hot, and served in tiny, shallow cups at auspicious occasions after the main meal or dinner. Saffron is usually added to kahwa for special guests, and milk or cream is added when given to an elderly or the sick. The lively combination of sweet spices, the buttery flavour imparted by almonds, and the earthy aroma of nutmeg makes Kashmiri chai a delicious delightful drink.
Now that I am in the business of tea, one of my favourite teas is our Kashmiri Chai. The Herbal Republic Chai is blended using my Mother's list of spices and nuts so whether you would like to drink it as a kahwa, or with cream or milk, enjoy our Kashmiri Chai to keep you warm during the cold winter months.
Follow the recipe below to enjoy a healthy, steaming cup of the Kashmiri Green Chai to keep you energized throughout the day.
- Herbal Republic Kashmiri Chai
(Green Tea, Green Cardamoms, Cloves, Cinnamon, Roasted Almonds)
- Pinch of Saffron (Optional)
- Ground Nutmeg (Optional)
- Honey to sweeten (Optional)
- Milk or Cream for extra creamy version (Optional)