Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Kashmiri Kahwa

Flying to Kashmir from Dehli last year we were seated next to a man from Srinagar who urged us to taste their special tea known as Kawah. A small single cup of Kawah is said to lift the spirits, create a sense of wellbeing, energise, and dispel headaches. Kahwa is an anti-oxidant - some Kashmiris consider it to have magical properties.

Our first experience of Kawah was made for us by our lovely houseboy. We imbibed the tea whilst relaxing on our houseboat's veranda, and enjoying the views across Dal Lake towards the snow capped foothills of the Himalayas. It was indeed magical, but whether it was the view or the tea I could not say.
It is possible to make yourself some Kawah, all of the ingredients are readily available. I still have a small stash of Kawah which travelled back home in my suitcase. In Kashmir they obviously use green tea and saffron grown in their mountain valleys, but whatever you have to hand will suffice.
2 teaspoons of green tea leaves
2 cardamon pods slightly crushed
1 inch piece of cinnamon bark slightly crushed,
a little honey or sugar,
two or three threads of saffron, the colour and flavour is dissolved separately in a little water by crushing gently with a teaspoon,
4/5 almonds shredded or ground (optional)  
when in season Kashmiri rose petals are used
Boil 2 cups of water add cinnamon, cardamom and tea, boil for 3 minutes and then allow to infuse over low heat,
strain, then add the saffron liguid together with the threads 
a little sugar or honey
Top with almonds, serve hot 
The result is a delicate, spicey, fragrant flavour.

60 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. If you have the ingredients it is very simple to make Linda

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  2. Dear Rosemary, I remember your beautiful photographs of last May. How special to see more of that fairytale-like Dal Lake.
    Thank you for posting the recipe for Kawah tea. It's the saffron that will be difficult for me to find. Maybe the healthfood store up north will have some. Of course, there is always Amazon...they seem to have everything.

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    1. Dear Gina - if you want some saffron the best place to buy it is when you visit Italy in April. The grow the special crocuses in Italy and Sicily.

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  3. What a lovely view. I must go back to your older posts and read about this again. I think that I could easily be persuaded to travel for the view from the houseboats.
    You know, I have everything at hand for the tea except for the rose petals. You have me curious now.....

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    1. Hope that you give it a try H - the rose petals are an unnecessary extra.
      I have enjoyed looking at some of my photos from the trip, all seems like a faraway dream now.

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  4. I love the crocheted coaster as well as all these beautiful images.

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    1. One of my DiL's crocheted two mats for me, both in an assortment of different very bright colours - I was really pleased with them. Not Indian, but I thought that they looked sufficiently ethnic for this post.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, Your description of the Kawah reminds me of the hot, spiced wines and liquors that used to be so popular in England (and by extension, America), such as mulled wine, posset, negus, toddy, etc. Except of course that Kawah is based on wholesome green tea instead of alcohol.

    By the way, Taiwan had a severe cold snap last weekend, with temperatures down to freezing (most places, including mine, have no heat or insulation), so it's too bad you didn't post this a few days earlier!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - for some reason I never imagine Taiwan to be that cold, but one of my followers from Japan has also mentioned how intensley cold it has been there too - the coldest weather for a decade. I am sorry that you lost your heating that must have been very difficult. We have the tail end of storm Jonas heading our way, but for us it will mean heavy rain.

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    2. Hi again, Just to clarify, there is no heating ever in most buildings here--it has not just been broken. The cold has been very serious--over 66 people in Taipei alone have died last weekend from hypothermia. I was lucky to at least have a little space heater which did what it could.

      About the coming rain in England, we used to get that in Connecticut, when the hurricanes would travel up the coast causing damage, then die out and dump their rain for days over southern New England. --Jim

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    3. Yes, I had misunderstood you - it must have been severe for 66 people to die, that is far more than died in the States during the snow storm. Most of our rain is expected to fall across the northern part of the country where they have already experienced floods three times in the last few weeks.

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  6. Beautiful photos and a great tip for a tea lover.

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  7. Those photos are beauties. I wonder if you can buy the tea online, already made, as it sounds like rather a lot of work to create.

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    1. It isn't really very much work if you have all the ingredients to hand - just a bit of spice crushing, boiling water, and straining - that's it.
      I believe that you can buy it online but nearly all the Kawah I have seen online is paid for in Indian Rupees. Sometimes they use different spelling too, such as Qawah.

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  8. I remember the posts from the houseboat on the Dal Lake last year very well, your photos were end are so beautiful. Kawah tea sounds delicious, I smell it in my imagination. I have all the ingredients except the threads of saffran. I will buy these on the market and try this tea.

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    1. Hope you like it Janneke - I find it interesting discovering the way in which other countries use products, and in this case the spices etc are things that we mostly have already in our own cupboards.

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  9. My husband drinks green tea and loves cinnamon and honey so I will try making this for him. Do you see the recent documentary by Levison Woods on Channel 4 , trekking across the Himalayas? As he crossed Kashmir I was reminded of your wonderful holiday and images. Sarah x

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    1. We did watch it Sarah and enjoyed seeing Levison being taken for a ride in a shakira on Dal Lake. We have also just watched The Real Marigold Hotel tonight which we found very amusing but also evocative.

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  10. My goodness, that does sound exotic, Rosemary. How lovely to be reminded of your amazing trip to India and Kashmir by those beautiful images.

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    1. It is nine months since we were there Perpetua - I can't believe how quickly the time has past.

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  11. You know that while I am imagining the taste of the drink, I am also admiring the crochet on which it is standing! xx

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    1. My DiL made me two lovely crochet mats in very bright colours - I love them both, they have a bit of an ethnic feel to them, but I also love the fact that she made them for me♡

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  12. Sounds delicious. When I was a teen studying in London I often went to Indian films and Kashmir often featured. I always thought I would go there one day but it is unlikely now.

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    1. You know the old saying Susan - "Never say Never"

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  13. Lovely scenery there.
    Tea, Looks interesting recipe and know doubt does taste lovely. I only have one cup of tea in the summertime, I drink water with a bit of lemon in it.

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    1. I am drinking this tea now in the hopes that it will get my energy levels up in order to deal with all the jobs that I must do.

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  14. Sounds spicy and good, thank you for this recipe . I am a heavy tea drinker and always like to try new flavors .

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    1. If you particularly like cardammon and saffron then I think that you will like it

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  15. Your colourful photos are a real pick-me-up on this grey, wet and windy morning, Rosemary. The blossom is so pretty and the wonderful views of the mountains give me a feeling of sitting under that boat canopy looking out over the lake. The tea sounds delicious.

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    1. Dear Linda - this is the sort of weather that gives you chance to dream of things to come. I have just been out and storm Jonas seems to have arrived with a vengeance.

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  16. What gorgeous photos, Rosemary, which seem to illustrate beautifully the scent and flavour of the tea. it does sound delicious.

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    1. I am drinking some now Patricia and day dreaming about our lovely Indian trip and cannot believe that it was 9 months ago already.

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  17. My husband lived on a houseboat in Kashmir for months, a long long time ago :)
    He loved everything about it. He had a man/guide who stayed with him and shopped and did things for him ... a very tall and handsome Sikh .. I always wished I had met him .
    He always wanted to go back to India, I am sad that we never did get to make that trip.

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    1. May be Candice you could join a trip and still make the journey to see what your husband saw and experienced. Your husbands man/guide sounds rather like our boat owner, and he too was very handsome. He would come on to our boat every evening after we had been served our supper to see how we were, to have discussions with us, and talk about our plans.

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  18. Rosemary, the first photo took my breath away - so beautiful - and the houseboats on the lake (with houseboy serving wonderful tea) look interesting and so colorful. I loved seeing parts of India on my trip a couple of years ago - I would like to return some day! (And there I was, for most of my life ,thinking I would never want to go there).

    Mary -

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    1. Dear Mary - it was the opposite for me, I have always wanted to visit, but H, who visited many years ago, was not keen. However, I won him round, and now both of us would very happily return.
      If a documentary comes over to the States called The Real Marigold Hotel you must watch it. It features several characterful OAP celebrities testing out how it would be to retire in India instead of going to places like Spain, France, or the States i.e there was Wayne Sleep, Miriam Margolyes, Jan Leeming, Rosemary Shrager etc. The first part, last night, was really enjoyable and lots of fun to watch and of course gave us another chance to see parts of Indian that we visited.

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  19. Absolutely amazing. You and your camera are such a wonderful team and the pictures you create together are stunning. As always, it's such a treat to visit your blog Rosemary.

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Oh dear Charlie! that is such a very kind thing to say, you have made my evening - thank you.
      I really pleased that you enjoyed seeing this post♡

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  20. Rosemary, that top photo in particular is jsut stunning, isn't it? Yet, I'm quite sure it doesn't even come close to doing justice to how incredible that area must have been. What a sensory experience.

    Well if Kawah is tea then it has to have anti-oxidants so that is of course good, but I am such a (British) traditionalist when it comes to tea--still prefer it black...with milk!

    I've always wanted to go to India. Reading this and your linked post from before, i think the trip you take sounds the perfect route. How wonderful and interesting it must have all been. The photos are all amazing as are the stories, like the muslim girl being allowed to go to a christina girls school and getting atop notch education. So fortunate for her.

    Thank you for reading and taking the time to write your comment on the Ageing post btw. I did reply. Enjoyed that. :)

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    1. Dear Michael - Indian is an exciting place to visit - colourful people, stunning architecture, exotic smells, in a word sensory-overload. I would happily return, and hope that you too may have the opportunity to visit one day.

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  21. The aroma and taste of Kahwa as well as the exotic breathtaking views must be intoxicating. It’s a nice way to spend a winter day with the warmth of the memory of your favorite trip.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - to sit and dream with a glass of hot Kahwa is lovely.

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  22. Wonderful photos, as usually.
    Hugs

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  23. This tea sounds delicious, and I will try to find it on the Internet (might do it myself - though till today I remember the face of the pharmacist when I walked in, very young and without wordly knowledge, and asked for "100 gram of saffron, please". Hahaha).
    Beautiful and colourful uplifting photos, thank you!

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    1. What a chuckle you have given me Britta - your remark is absolutely 'priceless'

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  24. I do like a refreshing cup of tea and this sounds wonderful.

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    1. It is very easy to make too Suzie.

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  25. What a beautiful trip you made Rosemary. The view is beautiful!

    Have a good weekend!

    Madelief x

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  26. Sounds like liquid sunshine - I could do with a glass now.

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    1. Did you notice my Turkish tea glasses?

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  27. Sounds interesting although it might be an acquired taste - is it anything like chai tea - I tried that and found it most disagreeable. Gorgeous photos Rosemary such a wonderful place.

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    1. No, Chai is a rich black tea combining heavy milk and a combination of various spices and sweetner.
      Green tea has a light taste so the flavour from this drink comes predominantly from the cardomon, saffron and honey .

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