Kehwa is an exotic drink prepared with Green Kehwa leaves and other ingredients. There are three types of Kehwa tea depending on the combination of ingredients used. Plain Kehwa is simple green tea from Kehwa leaves. However Kehwa is famous for the ingredients used to add the royal taste to it. The mostly used Kashmiri Kehwa tea contains cinnamon, cardamom, pepper corn and cloves along with some dry fruits. Add saffron to it and it becomes saffron Kehwa (Pronounced zaffrani kehwa locally).
Traditionally Kehwa was brewed in Samawar on slow heat and also to keep it warm for long hours in chilling winter.
There is no documentary proof regarding the origin of Kehwa. It is believed Kehwa was brought to Kashmir through silk route from China. Where as some say it originated in the Yarkand valley during Kushan Empire in the 1st or 2nd century AD
It is also said that Kehwa derives its name from the word “kah” which means eleven in Kashmiri. There are eleven ingredients that are traditionally used in Kehwa namely 1) Kehwa Tea Leaves 2) Cinnamon 3) Cardamom 4) Pepper Corn 5) cloves 6) Almonds 7) Pistachio 8) Cashew Nuts 9) Walnuts 10) Sugar or Honey 11) Saffron. In Kashmiri Eleven is “Kah”. Hence the name Kehwa. Now a days people also add other fruits/dry fruits to it giving it different flavours.
It is also known as Moghil Chai locally (derived from the word Mughal). It is believed, this tea became very popular among Mughals since they found it very good drink to keep the body warm in winters. In Kashmir anything royal became synonymous with the word Mughal (Moghil). Locals even name their daughters as Moghali. As a result due to the rich ingredients of the tea this also became common as Moghil tea.
Benefits of Kahwa Tea
In Kashmir it is normal to begin their day with a cup of kehwa. For a place that has a solid winter season, it’s the perfect drink to keep body warm and cozy. Also, it is abundantly healthy because its ingredients like fruits, nuts, and spices. Kashmiri Kehw tea has some other health benefits as well, such as:
- It improves concentration and helps with stress issues.
- Has digestive properties and aids weight loss.
- Improves metabolism and helps indigestion.
- It works as an antioxidant.
- It is a very good immunity booster
- Relieve headaches and migraine
- It maintains the fluid levels in your body.
- It is beneficial for eyesight.
- It can energize your body and helps you fight lethargy.
- It is a very good remedy for cold and Asthama
- Keeps skin healthy and glowing
- It is a very good energy booster
How to make Kehwa:
- Kehwah tea leaves
- Green cardamoms
- Black Pepper
- Dry Fruits (Almond/Pistachu/Walnuts/Kaju)
- Saffron ( kesar)
- Sugar or Honey
- Add some water depending upon the quantity you are going to make. Assuming we are making 4 cups of Kehwah, add 4 1/2 cups of water. Half cup will take care of water evaporated.
- Add cinnamon (1 piece of 1 inch), Green cardamom (5-8), Black Pepper (2tsp) and cloves (2-3 Nos.) to it. (You can adjust the quantity as per your taste or in case you prefer lighter one)
- Add Ginger approximately of 1 inch length or Ginger Powder 1 tsp.
- Cover the lid and let the water boil for a while (4-5 Minutes) to infuse the water with the ingredients added.
- Now add Kehwa leaves to the boiling water and turn the flame off after a minute. (Don’t boil leaves much, else it will get slightly bitter)
- Add sugar as per taste. If adding honey add it in the cups or after you have turned the flame off. (It is not advisable to boil the honey)
- Strain the tea and pour into the cups
- Add chopped dry fruits to the cups.
- Add 2-3 strands of saffron to each cup.
- Serve hot and enjoy the drink
Also watch the video above on the benefits of Kehwa and how to make it.