Cheat’s Recipe for Spiced Mountain Butter Tea

You can have the taste of the Himalayas at home with Spiced Mountain Butter Tea. (Image: Richard Masoner/flickr)
You can have the taste of the Himalayas at home with Spiced Mountain Butter Tea. (Image: Richard Masoner/flickr)

In my mind’s eye, I can’t recall an image of the Himalayas without remembering the rich and salty butter tea called Po Cha, which is a traditional Tibetan tea. It’s taste is unusual to say the least, but a perfect beverage to strengthen your resolve to face the dry and icy winds, and put a spring back in your step.

You don’t need to be rubbing shoulders with Sherpas to enjoy this nourishing tea—anytime of the day.

Tired hikers share a needed morning tea with their Sherpa (image:MrGaryLarson/flickr)

Tired hikers share a needed morning tea with their Sherpa. (Image: MrGaryLarson/flickr)

The Yak butter added into the tea contains micronutrients and calories to build and maintain your own burning fire, and maintain constant energy levels. The tea traditionally used is Pu-erh, a smoky and mushroomy-flavored brew. The salt added also contains minerals that refresh the body between meals. Most people don’t have yak butter, or milk, or Pu-erh tea, for that matter—that’s OK. This recipe has been adapted to suit the ingredients available in your region. You can also add the spice you like in any combination.

Spiced Mountain Butter Tea, a cheat’s version:

  1. Pour 4 cups of water into a pot and heat on your stove top, on low to medium.
  2. Add your spice to the water. You can try cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, cloves, turmeric, black pepper, nutmeg, and fennel.
  3. Add 1-2 tea bags—or more if you like it strong—of English breakfast or Earl Grey to the water to steep.
  4. When you can see the water has been colored to your liking, take out the tea bags.
  5. Add half a cup of full cream milk and 2 tablespoons of quality grass-fed butter to your tea, gently stirring as the butter melts.
  6. Once the tea has developed a spicy aroma, you are ready to add your final touch—a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, or pink Himalayan rock salt, in keeping with the theme.
  7. Sip slowly to allow the butter to coat your mouth—Mmmmm, very satisfying!
A typical Tibetan snack consists of Po Cha and steamed buns (image:MichealRehfeld/flickr)

A typical Tibetan snack consists of Po Cha and steamed buns. (Image: MichealRehfeld/flickr)

This beverage is especially good for people who don’t like to eat breakfast until later in the morning; the butter contains enough calories to give you energy, gently awaken your stomach, and arouse your appetite.

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