Sherpa Butter Tea

Butter tea known as “su cha” in Sherpa language is a very popular drink of the Sherpa people in Nepal. People in Tibet, China and Bhutan also drink butter tea.  Since the weather is often chilly and cold in the Himalaya region, Sherpa people drink butter tea throughout the day to keep themselves warm and hydrated. Butter in the tea also provides nourishment and calories. It is made from special tea leaves, yak butter, salt and milk (optional). For breakfast, butter tea is enjoyed with tsampa.

Traditionally, butter tea is made by boiling tea leaves in water until the tea is dark brown in color. Then the tea is strained and poured in a special butter churn along with a large lump of yak butter, salt and tsampa (optional) and then this is churned until the butter and salt are well mixed. The tea is then transferred to a thermos or kettle. Butter tea is served in a special cup and silver cup holder.

Special tea leaves used to make butter tea. DSC_1629-001

Non iodized salt for butter tea. DSC_1635-001

Traditional way of churning butter tea. DSC_4451-001

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Butter tea served with sel roti and mula ko aachar (radish pickle).36210_1430081865247_8007301_n

Butter tea served in cup and silver cup holders. The cute little cup was for me :) DSC_4548-001

Since it is difficult to find special tea leaves, yak butter and salt required to prepare traditional butter tea, here I have a easy butter tea recipe that uses black Lipton teabags (since Lipton tea resembles the taste of Sherpa tea leaves), table-salt, and store bought salted butter.

Ingredients:
4 cups of water
1 cup of milk
2 Black Lipton teabags
4 tablespoon salted butter
Salt to taste

Directions:

1. In a large pan, boil water with two Lipton teabags.  DSC_1604-001

2. Once the color of the tea is dark brown, add milk. DSC_1614-001

3. Boil the tea until it bubbles. DSC_1617-001

4. In a blender, add butter and salt. DSC_1615-001

5. Transfer tea to the blender and blend using liquefy. DSC_1624-001

6. Enjoy butter tea with cookies or anything you like. DSC_1642-001

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2 Responses to Sherpa Butter Tea

  1. LeeC says:

    It is very important to note that your recipe, with store-bought butter, will be very different, nutritionally, than tea made with yak butter. Yaks in Nepal are surely eating a natural diet of greens: grasses, sedges, herbs, winterfat shrubs, mosses, etc. American butter comes from cows that eat a very unnatural diet: processed grains, candy-making scraps, and even the remains of other cows. This unnatural diet significantly changes the types and quality of the fats they produce, which makes butter that is grossly (no pun intended) inferior. Seek out grass-fed butter!

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