Shirchoy (Salted Milk-tea)

The climate in Tajikistan's east is quite harsh. Temperatures can drop to -50°C in the winter. Locals, who have lived there for centuries, developed dishes to keep them warm and healthy in response. Shirchoy is a tea that has been used to keep locals warm for many years. It's a simple recipe, but the original shirchoy can only be made by a true Pamiri. So, what exactly is it? And how can a simple tea keep you warm in the winter?

Shirchoy is a salted milk tea that is traditionally served with bread and butter. In fact, bread is an integral part of the shirchoy tradition. Water is first brought to a boil, then black tea is added. Salt is then added to the boiling water, followed by milk. Some people also add nuts.

The tea is boiled for a long time, until it thickens to the consistency of regular tea. Shirchoy is served with a piece of butter and non, the local bread, in a piyola. Some people even break the bread into small pieces, toss it into the tea, and scoop it up with a spoon.

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