Butter Tea

Darjeeling is a town celebrated for its world-class tea gardens. During the days of the Raj or British Crown rule of the Indian subcontinent, Darjeeling became known as the Queen of the Hill Stations. It was a remote settlement of a few scattered villages when the British took over in the mid-1800s. While the monarchy has faded, what remains is a vibrant population of Europeans, Anglo-Indians, Tibetans, Nepalis, Sikkimese, Bhutanese, and Bengalis with a rich history and blended culture. The name, Darjeeling, is derived from the Tibetan word “dorge” which means thunderbolt. The town is greatly influenced by Tibetan and Nepali culture, both of which have been deeply ingrained in its history since its founding. As a homage to Darjeeling’s Tibetan roots, I wanted to share a recipe for a unique fusion that combines a traditional Tibetan butter tea recipe with Darjeeling black tea. The taste of this tea is as unique as Darjeeling itself.

For this recipe you will need:

2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of Darjeeling tea

2 tablespoons of butter

⅓ cup of cream

½ teaspoon of salt

  1. Add the tea to the water once boiled and remove it from the heat.
  2. Let it seep for 3-5 minutes, or depending on your taste preference.
  3. Combine cream and butter and stir gently until incorporated. You can also use a blender to mix.
  4. Serve the tea and top with a sprinkling of salt.

The tea is traditionally salted because at high altitudes the human body loses water roughly twice as fast as it would at sea level, making the risk of dehydration high. The addition of salt to this tea helps Tibetans stay hydrated in the cold Himalayan Mountains. It offered Tibetans of the past the much needed fat, warmth and electrolytes needed to keep them going. It is definitely a unique taste that is worth trying at least once.

Meagan Mukhia

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