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Kashmiri Chai, or pink tea, gets its vibrant pink color from the addition of baking soda. Made with green tea, the traditional version is made with salt but our version uses sugar instead, AKA the Karachi version. The traditional version also takes up to an hour to make but this recipe shaves that time by more than half!
We’ve also added star anise, cinnamon and cardamom for flavor but feel free to use all or none – or another spice entirely. It yields 2 hefty mugs of this tasty beverage, but you can double or triple the recipe if needed.
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons Kashmiri tea leaves
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda a pinch
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup of half and half
- 1 – 2 tbsp sugar or to taste
- almonds & pistachio optional
- Combine the water, tea leaves, anise, cardamom, cinnamon in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add a pinch of baking soda. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tea should begin to turn pink.
- Remove from heat, then slowly pour in the cold water, stirring to incorporate and intensify the color.
- Strain the tea concentrate and return to a large pot or saucepan.
- Add the milk, half and half and sugar, bring to a simmer (bubbles start to appear) then immediately remove from heat.
- Pour the tea into cups and garnish with pistachios or almonds if you desire!
Notes & Tips
- To ensure the pink color, fresh tea leaves are a must. If you can’t find Kashmiri tea leaves at your local Indian or Pakistani grocery store, you can use normal green tea leaves. But keep in mind that they may not turn as pink. Avoid light green or roasted teas.
- You can substitute brown sugar or other sweeteners for regular sugar.
- If you do want to try the salty version, add a pinch of salt when boiling the tea with the other spices.