By Debashis Das
Kahwah (Urdu: قہوہ, also transliterated qehwa, kehwa or kahwa) is a traditional green tea preparation consumed in Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, some regions of Central Asia as well as the Kashmir Valley. In Pakistan, it is made in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan regions. It is a popular breakfast beverage among Kashmiris, generally accompanied with special Kashmiri baked items like girda. Kashmiri Pandit migrants living in the North Indian plains, particularly in the urban agglomeration of Delhi, have also contributed to the tea’s popularity among non-Kashmiris.
The tea is made by boiling green tea leaves with saffron strands, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and occasionally Kashmiri roses to add a great aroma. Generally, it is served with sugar or honey and crushed nuts, usually almonds or walnuts. Some varieties are made as an herbal infusion only, without the green tea leaves. Kahwah is usually served to guests or as part of a celebration dinner, and saffron (kong) is added to the kahwah for special visitors.
Kashmiri Green Tea (Kahva) – 5 tsp
Saffron – 5 pinches
Cardamoms – 2, slightly crushed
Almonds – 8, chopped
Cinnamon Stick – 1
Clove – 1
Sugar or Honey – 2 tblsp
1. Boil 3 cups of water along with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
2. Add in the Kahva.
3. Let it simmer in low flame for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, dissolve saffron in a teaspoon of water.
5. Strain the tea and add the saffron liquid together with crushed almonds.
6. Sweeten with sugar or honey as required to taste.