Kashmiri Gulab Chai (Pink Tea)

Kashmiri Gulab Chai (Pink Tea)

This recipe is easily one that can be summed up by "trial and error". Kashmiri chai is one of those things I happened to stumble across while walking through the many Pakistani high streets in East London. I was curious to try and make this fabulous pink concoction for myself, but boy was it a tough task! I watched endless Urdu Youtube videos in the hopes to figure out how I could remake it at home. I think the one tip I can give you if you're making Kashmiri chai at home is if you think you've brewed it long enough- you haven't, so keep brewing!

Servings: 4-5 cups
Prep+cooking time: 30 mins


  • 1 heaped tsp Kashmiri chai leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 2-3 crushed cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup full fat mil
  • Handful chopped pistachios
  • Sugar to taste (optional)


1) Place a pan of water on high heat until the water is boiling. Sprinkle Kashmiri chai leaves with the spices and cover the pan. Lower the flame and allow to brew for 15 minutes.

2) Remove the brew from the heat and add a pinch of baking soda. The tea will start frothing and turn a much more rich red colour (as above). At this point, add the ice cubes and stir until they have all melted. I couldn't tell you the particular science behind this process but I think the sodium and extreme change in temperature is what catalyses the tea to turn red. After the ice has melted, return to heat and allow to brew for another 15 minutes.

3) Finally, remove the Kashmiri chai from the heat and pour in a cup of milk a little at a time until you get your desired pink colour. Strain the chai and add chopped pistachios before serving. Sugar is optional and I prefer it to cut the salty taste of baking soda. Authentic Kashmiri chai is not a baby pink the colour of strawberry milkshake, it is supposed to be a brownish-pink. If your chai doesn't turn pink, it is most likely because you didn't brew it long enough or because you didn't follow the order of baking soda, then ice, then milk (I have made both mistakes a dozen times!)