Citizens! While the drama of coronavirus is playing out across the world, TFD was gratified beyond words to learn that the U.S. war in Afghanistan has now been ended, at least assuming the Taliban abide by the treaty they just signed with the American government.
After 19 years of ceaseless and bloody war and countless lives lost on all sides, it would seem that peace is at last within reach. As such, I wish to share with you a rare Afghani recipe for pink chai tea – qaymaq chai partii – which is traditionally served to friends, family and guests visiting any Afghani home as a symbol of both hospitality and the hope for peace.
As noted on the exceptional blog afghancultureunveiled.com:
Tea, whether it is green or black, is not usually drunk with milk in Afghanistan except perhaps at breakfast time.
On formal occasions, however, such as weddings and engagements, a special tea is prepared called qymaq chai. Qaymaq is similar to clotted cream or the kaymak of the Middle East. This tea is prepared with green tea and by the process of aeration and the addition of bicarbonate of soda the tea turns dark red. Milk is added (and sugar too) and it becomes a purply-pink colour. It has a strong, rich taste. Cardamom is added for added flavour.
The qaymaq is floated on the top. My husband, who is very poetic, likens the colour of the tea to the rosy-hued glow of the mountains in Afghanistan as the sun rises or sets. The qaymaq represents the white snow-capped peaks. He also says that the colour of the tea should be like the purply-pink blossom of the Judas tree which flowers all over in Afghanistan in the spring.
The chai is sometimes served in small glasses called istakhan or small porcelain handle-less bowls, similar to the Chinese tea bowl, called piala.
The addition of bicarbonate of soda is what magically turns the green tea-based chai pink and bicarbonate is helpful for the acid/alkali balance in the body. Since it is thought that alkalizing the body can help with preventing coronavirus infection, this is one drink you should be adding to your daily health regimen, STAT!
You can watch a great video of how to make qaymaq pink chai here – it will help to guide you on how to properly make this unique drink, redolent of cardamom! I would suggest enjoying this with a delicious Afghan dessert if you are in the mood to sample an Afghani teatime! 😀 There can be no equivocation when it comes to TFD’s delight and true enjoyment of Afghani cuisine – my hope is that this recipe and others of its ilk here on the blog will help make this country’s recipes more accessible!
The base recipe I used for my version of qaymaq pink chai comes from Afghan Food and Cookery by Helen Saberi published by Hippocrene in the United States. Highly recommended to buy, by the way!
My tweak is to adjust the cardamom to my liking as well as adding a hint of clove to the drink – I have every confidence you will find this unique chai much to the liking of both yourself and your guests, . Please do see fit to try this at earliest opportunity, thank the powers that be for a (hopeful) conclusion to nearly 20 years of violence and tip your cap to the mightiness that ALONE is TFD! There still remains a hope for peace in Afghanistan, and I hope to see it in my lifetime! 😀
Battle on – the Generalissimo
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