Thursday, December 19, 2013

Kashmir Kahwa with Christmas Cake

Some Adventure in Prayer group meeting, I thought; we were sipping Kashmiri kahwah (kawa, qehwah) tea and tasting "tea cake." The tea cake is actually a "Christmas cake" and quite unique. It is not the Bavarian, European/English plum puddings or the dreaded "fruit cake." This cake is one of the many good things of life, a result of the British presence in India for ~400 years. The marriage of English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh baking and culinary traditions with the rich heritage of Indian flora is a compelling taste of the divine goodness that fills our earth.  

Kashmiri kahwa is green tea made with a few threads of saffron, a piece of cinnamon bark, a cardamom pod, and an unskinned almond.Only small portions are usually drunk as the tea is aromatic but light, simply fantastic when drunk on a winter day. It is prepared in a samovar which also has space for the spices besides the central chamber in which live coals are kept; hot water is boiled in the samovar (urn-shaped vessel). Kawa can be served with honey or sugar and is accompanied by walnuts or almonds. I just boiled the water in a kettle over the stove, put the tea and spices into the strainer of a teapot, and poured the hot water over it. We gave it a couple of minutes for steeping and then drank it plain. The plum cake needed a clean (sugar-free) palate to truly appreciate it. It is made of raisins and it is uniquely south Indian and perhaps even just "tamilian" (dravidian). I would love to have a recipe and hope to get it one of these days. Anyway, the ladies and I loved it!

It is doubtful if the Christmas cake will last that long, but I invite you to come home before Christmas, if you want a taste of it. If not, I'm looking forward to sharing kashmiri kawa tea with all my friends as and when I share the stories of amazing Pravaham in incredible India. God's amazing work in our world is marvelous!

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