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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tea in Lucknow: Huzoor Chaai pijiye!

In the winters, Kashmiri Chai is one specialty of Lucknow, which you won't find elsewhere.

This pink-coloured Chaai is a delicacy prepared through a special process.

It tastes very different from tea and even those who don't like tea, drink cups and cups of it.

The preparation of Kashmiri Chai, ( it derives its name form Kashmiri Mohalla of Lucknow) is different in the sense that the hot beverage is tossed in air repeatedly for a long time from one container to other and then only this colour and odour appear. The tea leaves are also different.

It is a connoisseur's tea and even a minor slip in procedure will raise the eyebrows of the Lucknow-walas. It is served along with Balaai (in Lucknow malaai is called baalaai, as baalaa means top in Urdu).

[Of course, I am not there in this photo on the left.]

If you are planning to go to Lucknow, don't miss the Kashmiri Chai. You can get it at Akbari Gate and some other localities in the Walled City.

Nimish (also called Makhan, which is also a special sweet delicacy not available anywhere else), Kashmiri Chai, Kulcha Nahari and Tunday's Kebab are a few things you can't afford to miss.

10 comments:

!!! said...

I presume you are talking about 'sheer-chai' of kashmir...
Amusing that you didnt mention the biggest differentiator - its a salted drink unless the other tea's you would assume to have sugar by default.
The pink salt tea (sheer-chai) is most preferred post a meal in Kashmir...

indscribe said...

No...it is sweet, there is lot of sugar in it and it is different.

Actually the word 'Kashmiri' attached to it, may create this doubt.

mohammadshamim said...

That is not how that Kashmiri tea is made in Lucknow. I was told this chai has to do nothing with Kashmiri mohalla. It is the stuff as they have in Kashmir State. And, astonishingly, this so called pink tea is made from Rooh Afza bottle to get pink color and that aroma.

!!! said...

Either way its no way close to the pink tea that people of Kashmir drink. The 'sheer' chai of Kashmir is a salt-tea and the pink colour is not because of any additives (rooh-afza)


Maybe the original Kashmiris in the Kashmiri mohalla really drank the original sheer chai as in Kashmir... but since its made from specific tea leaves not commonly available outside kashmir - probably a namesake took its place...

indscribe said...

Rooh Afza....oh! Now this theory where did you pick up from Shamim Sahab? God knows who told you this.

urdudaaN said...

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that now many non-muslim hotels have starting writing it as kabab/kabaab rather than kebab. So, I think its time about we corrected ourselves too on the Indian lines. :)

Anser Azim said...

It was available near Chirya Bazar
in nakkhas and Akabari gate area. Its good but i will not recommend to others as Type II Diabetes is on the rise in India and around the world. Tunde kai kabaob ka jawab nahin we used to go from Moti mahal for the same dish at least when used get our research felloship. I recently found that there is a place where you get kakori kabob too. I will not miss that dish on my next visit to that area.

mohammed said...

Hai M asher M also living in kashmiri mohall, but now m in dubai , really u cant image the taste of kashmiri chai. i don't like tea but kashmiri chai i always drink i a time two or three cup...

Lucknowite said...

What are you talking about friends? 'Sheer-Chai', Salt, Rooh-Afza...I think those who have no idea about it need to go and taste this awsome unique locknowi beverage themselves once in their life. Its a unique concoction of a special tea leaf, cardamom (Ilaichi), milk, sugar. The differentiater off course is tea leaf and the way its prepared. After it is done its stored in large copper kettles where it keeps on simmering on low charcoal fire.It Really soothes your senses especially in freezing winters of northern India. Like other delecacies of Lucknow its irresistible.

kashif said...

mhd shamim - i have made shir chai so many times and it has come out in the most vibrant of pinks- with no addition whatsoever of anything like rooh-e-afza. i dont know what you put in your tea but carry on if it makes you happy.

All over kashmir (indian - administered kashmir) the people are drinkers of shiir chai, i hear they use bicarbonate of soda instead of plain salt. it makes my mouth purse up like im drinking sea water :# but i think its just the shock of not having sweet tea.