|Alternative names||Noon chai, Kashmiri tea, gulabi chai, pink tea|
|Region or state||Kashmir|
|Associated national cuisine||Kashmiri, Indian, Pakistani, Caribbean|
|Main ingredients||gunpowder tea, milk, soda, salt or sugar|
Sheer chai, also called Noon Chai, gulabi chai, Kashmiri tea or pink tea, is a traditional tea beverage, originating in Kashmir. It is made with gunpowder tea (green tea leaves rolled into small balls), milk and baking soda.
The word noon means 'salt' in several Indian languages such as Kashmiri, Bengali, Rajasthani, Hindi and Nepali. It is used in several other terms, such as the noon-dab ("salt promise") custom of Rajasthan, where a hand is dipped in salt to signify a solemn promise.
Kashmiri Hindus refer to this Kashmiri tea as "Sheer chai".
Noon chai is traditionally made from a type of green tea leaves, milk, salt, baking soda and usually cooked in a samavar. A pinch of baking soda gives it a pronounced pink color. Sugar is not traditionally used in Kashmiri home recipes, although newer commercial preparations in Pakistani restaurants and tea stalls who appropriate Kashmiri cuisine, may include sweeteners.
Noon chai is served in Northern India (Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh) and areas with even small Tibetan population such as Mainpat, Chhattisgarh. In Pakistan, it is often served with sugar and nuts (for non-Kashmiris who are not acquainted with salty tea), at special occasions, weddings, and during the winter months. Noon chai is an essential part of Kashmiri breakfast and supper, It is consumed with various types of traditional bread made in Kashmir. Kashmiri chai or Kashmiri tea is pink, milky and creamy and is usually garnished with a sprinkling of chopped almonds and pistachios. Noon chai is often made by using gunpowder green leaf tea, which is a type of green tea rolled into balls. The gunpowder tea is heated to a high temperate, in which baking soda is added. The baking soda then reacts with the gunpowder tea at a high temperature (usually boiling point) and produces a deep red, maroon colour. This process is typically done two-three times by cooling the mixture by adding ice and then reboiling it, which results in a deep red hue being released from the reaction. When milk is added, it acquires a pink colour. Many shops will not undertake such a labour-intensive process in order to create a red hue, instead using an instant Kashmiri chai mix or just adding red food colouring to imitate the baking soda generated pink colour.
Noon chai is usually served at breakfast time in the Indian-administered Kashmir Valley. People prefer to take tea instead of taking any fruit or vegetable for breakfast. Kashmiri bread is served along with the tea and with butter also.
In the month of Holy Ramadan Sheer chai is widely sold and served in Patna, Bihar - notably in the central district of Sabzibagh (= vegetable garden).
... নূণ Salt ...
... Noon-Dab, Hind., from Noon or loon, salt, and dabna, to dip, bespatter, or sprinkle, a custom among the Rajput races, of dipping the hand in the salt; the Noon-dab, is the most sacred pledge of good faith ...
6. Life of a Notable Kashmiri by Abid Bashir