India is a paradise for tea lovers. Tea plantations cover a major part of the mountain walls of India, providing ample opportunities to prepare tea for local consumption and export. There are wide varieties of tea prepared in India in different states, loved by people in the country and abroad. In this article you be acquainted with the special Noon Tea or Noon Chai from Kashmir.
Interesting Facts about Noon Tea or Noon Chai
As per the colloquial languages of the Indian states of Bengal, Kashmir, Rajasthan – “noon” means salt. Kashmiris do not prefer using sugar or sweet in their recipes which is applicable when they consume tea too. Hence the tea or chai they prepare is salty and the name Noon Chai derived from their preferred taste. The tea is consumed by the Kashmiris preferably during breakfast and dinner. Along with the tea they intake some light snacks mainly the traditional breads of Kashmir. The snacks further enhance the flavor and taste of the tea.
In religious occasions and special ceremonies like marriages the tea is sometimes served with nuts and sugar especially to those guests who are not from Kashmir. It is considered as a welcome drink by many Kashmiri households. In the chilled climate of the place, the tea is a refresher and a relief to the throat.
The Essence of the Tea
The tea is made with special tea leaves imported mainly from the authentic tea gardens of Assam or the ones grown in Gulmarg and the southern parts of Kashmir. It is mixed with baking soda, milk and salt for the exclusive aroma and flavor. The mixture imparts a pinkish creamy colour to the tea much to the delight of the tea consumers. Some people love the tea to be garnished with pistachios and almonds. The taste becomes heavenly and delicious with the tinge of dry fruits.
Other than Kashmir, Noon tea is famous outside India in various parts of Pakistan and Tibet. The restaurants and tea stalls sometimes serve the tea with some sweetener or sweet snacks for a balance with the creamy salty taste of the tea.
The preparation of Noon Tea is quite simple and fast. For the exact flavor you must use the traditional Kashmiri tea leaves. Alternatively you can use the green tea leaves, but you may not experience the authentic aroma. The key ingredients of the tea are the Kashmiri tea leaves, baking soda, salt, cardamom seeds or powder, water and milk.
Depending on the number of persons to be served you need to select the quantity of water accordingly. The water needs to be first boiled and the tea leaves brewed into it till the mixture is frothy. Boiling generates the aroma and the flavor of the tea leaves essential for the delicious taste. The next step is to add the baking soda and stir it continuously to mix up well. The cardamom powder must then be added to the frothy mixture and boiled for a bright reddish colour. The last step is to add adequate amount of milk and salt to the solution for the pink creamy colour and the salty taste.
At each step you must ensure the mixture is stirred up well for generating the froth and even distribution of the ingredients in it. The tea is then served hot to the guests. You can additionally add chopped almonds and pistachios for garnishing.
The ingredients used for preparing Noon Tea are beneficial for the human health and can safely consumed especially during the winters to beat the cold. Cardamom possesses several health benefits which includes being an anti-oxidant, assisting in digestion, treating bad breath and prevention against heart related ailments and diseases. Its anti-inflammatory effects increases the body immunity.
Baking soda acts an anti-acid enhancing the functioning power of kidneys, reducing chances of urinary infections and other orthopedic related injuries and problems. Indigestion issues are solved to a great extent on the consumption of a pinch of baking soda.
Overall the noon tea offers health benefits in addition to its delectable taste. In the hilly areas of Kashmir, the weather is quite chilled which necessitates the intake of a soothing hot beverage for refreshments. The noon tea is perfect to relax your taste buds and rejuvenate your heart and mind. Imagine sipping on a cup of brewing noon tea at the backdrop of the panoramic landscape ornate by the heavenly Kashmiri green meadows and the looming mountains. You are sure to be transformed into a heavenly world of divinity.
The Tea Plantations in Kashmir – Source of Noon Tea
If you are interested to visit the tea plantations in Kashmir to observe the authentic tea gardens and experience a delightful opportunity of tea leaves plucking then you must visit Gulmarg. The tea leaves are used for the preparation of noon tea. You can even sip in a cup of noon tea prepared from the leaves of the local tea gardens of Gulmarg. The tea gardens even offer baked snacks along with the noon tea as a compliment.
If you are visiting Kashmir then do not forget to taste the delicious creamy pinkish noon tea as a breather from the cold weather. You are sure to be refreshed and entertained by its aromatic flavor and taste. You can even buy packs of the special Kashmiri tea leaves and carry back home to prepare the authentic chai of Kashmir.