Ladakhi Salt Tea

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Home to the world’s most ancient, undisturbed Buddhist populations, the natives of Ladakh are a tribe indigenous to the mighty mountains that surround them. I visited this paradise just last week and knew at once I had to do a piece on salt tea.

Salt tea is a beverage consumed by the Ladakhi population at least 3-4 times a day to keep them warm. It is Tibetian in origin and an acquired taste. They prefer salt to sweet.

Tibetan custom calls for salt tea to be drunk in separate sips, and after each sip the host refills the bowl to the brim. Thus, the bowl is never empty; it is constantly topped off. If one does not wish to drink, the best thing to do is leave the tea untouched until the time comes to leave and then drain the bowl. The host will not be offended this way.

We stayed at the K2 continental at Leh and they were sweet enough to let me in their kitchen and even shared traditional recipes with us!

Make sure you have this only during the winter;as it is high on cholesterol, having said that.. now you know why it is so delicious!

Ingredients( for 5 cups)

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbs Special black tea- substitute, green tea leaves.
  • 2 tbs butter (could be salted)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda (to enhance the pink colour)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk (optional)

Method:

Allow the the tea leaves to boil for about half an hour.

*Traditionally to be boiled for half a day!*

Add the butter and continue to boil. strain the tea leaves and ad the salt, milk and baking soda. Continue to boil and you will see the color change to pink. Boil for another 10 mins after the pink color appears. And there you have it…Salt tea.

It blends well with a sweet bun.

If you do visit Ladakh, this is one of the must have!

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Shanti Stupa, Leh – the entire city can be seen from up here
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