Butter tea, known as Po Cha, is a traditional drink of the Tibetans and is also consumed in Bhutan. Butter tea is an indispensable part of Tibetan life. Before work, a Tibetan will down several bowlfuls of this tangy beverage, and it is always served to guests. Since butter is the main ingredient, butter tea is a very warming drink and a good antidote to the cold, so it is especially suited to high altitudes.
According to the Tibetan custom, butter tea is drunk in separate sips, and after each sip the host refills the bowl to the brim. Thus the guest never drains his bowl yet it is constantly topped up. If the visitor does not wish to drink, the best thing to do is leave the tea untouched until the time comes to leave and then drain the bowl. In this way etiquette is observed and the host will not be offended.
- 1 tablespoon regular black tea (preferably Nepalese or Indian)
- 3 cups whole milk (or 1½ cup "half-and-half"/"cereal" cream + 1½ cup water)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- salt to taste
- Boil tea with milk for 2-10 min, depending upon the strength of tea desired
- Strain into tea cups.
- Add butter and salt. Stir thoroughly - ideally by carefully using a blender - and serve. Makes two servings.