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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Po cha (Butter tea) (Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan)

The mountains of Tibet and the neighboring regions (the high altitude areas of China and Nepal) are beautiful and harsh. The high altitude and the temperatures there are not easily withstood by most people. The local's secret? Among other things, the Po cha drink, made with a generous amount of yak butter. 

Mixing black tea with fat makes it less bitter and easy to digest, while the high amount of fats in the drink helps the human body cope with living at high altitudes. People drink several cups of this per day, and it's often a meal in itself - maybe just with some flatbread added. This is like Bulletproof coffee avant la lettre :). 

Since I couldn't find yak butter, I made it with the closest thing I could find - buffalo butter. It turned out surprisingly delicious. Keep an open mind though - the drink also contains a hefty dose of salt, so it's not the dessert-like tea or coffee you might be accustomed to. 

Last year: nothing.
Two years ago: nothing.
Three years ago: nothing.
Four years ago: Nutted cream cheese sandwich (American).
Five years ago: Whole wheat thin pizza crust (vegan).
Six years: Sauteed cod with pea cream (Italian).
Seven years ago: Pepitoritas (Mexican cajeta and pumpkin seed crescents).
Eight years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • 2 large cups of freshly brewed black tea (500 ml)
  • 50 g butter (preferably buffallo or yak butter)
  • a big pinch of table salt per serving

Stir the salt and the butter into the hot tea vigorously, until well mixed and foamy. It might separate again so each person should keep stirring their drink as they enjoy it. 

It's done, dig in! 

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