Over the past 100 years, the cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir has evolved to a great extent and this has been mainly due to the influence of Kashmiri Pandits that hail from the Hindu Community and the Kashmiri Buddhists from the valley. The cuisines of North India Plains, Persia and Central Asia have also marked their strong influence on the cuisine of this state. A few refreshing and notable beverages of Jammu and Kashmir have gained prominence amongst the tourists.
Kahwah is one popular drink that is served at religious places, and during special festivals and marriage fests. This is a warm kind of tea that is usually served after meals to wash the food down. Though every one of us is familiar with ginger tea that is prepared in our homes, yet the special Kashmiri tea which is a fragrant one blended with cardamom is must have. It is one of the delightful thirst quenching drink which the tourists ask for. Infact, the natives that prefer drinking Kahwah to settle their stomach upset. It is also believed to be good for digestion.
This drink hails its origin from an Arab coffee which was popular in 14th century. This drink has astonishing 20 varieties which are prepared in diverse households. Also called "Maugal Chai" by the Kashmiri Pandits, some people at times also add milk to alter its taste.
Sheer Chai or Noon Chai
Sheer Chai or Noon Chai is a common breakfast tea in Kashmiri households and is taken with breads like ‘Bakarkhani’. This tea is best served in large samovars. The word "noon" in Kashmiri language means Salt.
This popular drink is a pinkish coloured salted tea which is made with green tea, milk, salt and sodium bicarbonate. The particular colour of the tea is a result of its unique method of preparation and the addition of soda. The Kashmiri Pandits more commonly refer to this Chai as "Sheer Chai".