Qiamaq or Afghan Pink Milk Tea is one of the most involve teas you will ever make in your life. However, if you have the time for this special treat you will have some happy guests. The rich clotted cream on top, along with the stunning presentation of a pink chai, is quite the experience.
Typically you would serve Qaimaq on some kind of special occasion. The first major step is creating your cream. This is a several hour process where you extract the milk fat from your dairy product so that you can later use to enrich your chai. This is all laid out in the recipe and video below. The other time-consuming step is the making of the actual tea. You will find your self tossing pots of tea left and right to aerate it.
Eventually you get to add a magical ingredient: baking soda! Yes, you heard that right, baking soda in chai. A chemical reaction occurs in the tea that, after a few steps, turns the chai a beautiful pink color. Why does this reaction happen? Simple Loose Leaf Tea explains on their website:
The pink color doesn’t come from an artificial (or natural) coloring, it’s a result of chlorophyl in tea reacting with bicarbonate of soda that’s added to boiling tea leaves.
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For the Clotted Cream
4 Cups Whole Milk
2 Cups Heavy Cream
For the Tea
4 Cups of Water
3 Tablespoons of Green Tea
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Cup Sugar to Taste
2–3 Cups of Milk
1/2 Teaspoon of Cardamom
1. Add milk and heavy cream to large heavy-duty sauce pan. Let come to a boil. Aerate it while it comes to a boil.
2. Allow to cook for 2-3 hours on medium low. Watch the video to get an idea of what it will look like. The cream will separate from the liquid. Then, scrape off and place into container. You will likely be able to do this 2-3 times. Each time will be 2-3 hours. I suggest reading a book or do some chores. Later, you make the tea base.
3. Start your tea by adding your water and green tea to pot and bring to a boil. You will want your baking soda ready. While your tea is boiling, make sure you have another pot of equal, actually greater size, so you can strain the tea into it. After that you will be using the two pots to toss the tea between. Watch the video.
4. Your tea as it boils will get a little foam on top, it’ll be white. But eventually, you want the tea to get a slight pink tint. Boil tea for 10 minutes.
5. Add your baking soda to the tea. Be ready to aerate quickly, you will get an exciting fizz. After a few minutes this is when you will get the pinkish bubbles. Once it gets pink, or slightly red, you will add your ice cubes to stop the process.
6. Your next step is straining the tea, and then aerating it. Don’t wear a white sweater. Put some workout music on. Strain the tea. Once strained, pour the tea back and forth to aerate between the two pots for about 10 minutes.
7. Now the fun part. You will add enough milk to get the beautiful pink color. It will magically turn pink. Warm up the chai as it will cool from adding the milk. Add your sugar to taste. Keep tasting until you like it.
8. Add your cardamom next.
9. Now time to serve. Take about 2 tablespoons of your Qaimaq (clotted cream).
I have seen other people use pink food coloring to make the pink even more dramatic. I don’t do that but wouldn’t judge you if you did. Qaimaq chai should be served with joy and fun. Serve with some sweet dessert and some dried fruit and nuts.