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BHUTANESE CUISINE - SUJA

Today I am going to write an article on Bhutanese famous tea - suja. People call this tea, butter tea which is not wrong but if you break the word suja it means su=churn and ja=tea. In the olden days Bhutanese used to be a large joint and extended family and suja was made using huge pot and almost 0.5 meter tall churner called the “Ja-su” . The churning was basically to melt the butter and thoroughly mix the butter in the tea. But these days u hardly see the churner anymore, most people use blenders even in the villages since these days there are only few members in the family.
Anyways, in this article I will help you make suja and it is actually quite simple. Plus I will also teach you a cheater’s way of making a suja. First we will go with the original suja. You will need tea leaves and it’s not the one we use to make milk tea…it is a little different and I am not sure if it is available everywhere. There are two types of tea leaves, one is processed and we get it for sale in the market and the other one is plain tea leaves (and I am really sorry because I don’t know the name of the tree). You can either use the processed tea leaves alone or mix the two. These tea leaves are really strong and give you a really bitter taste. But let me not freak you out now and go step wise.
Boil it, strain it and dilute it
(L)Processed & (R) Plain Tea leaves and soda 
I am using  unsalted butter
  1.   Take a small pot and boil the tea leaves (I am not sure of the ratio but this is basically to get the juice of the leaves so use your guess and boil it) with a pinch of soda.
   2.      Simmer the heat and let the tea boil, try to get as much taste and color from the leaves.
    3.      Strain the juice into another container and add hot water to dilute the juice you extracted (I would say the diluted color should be almost like a diluted raspberry juice ^_^).
  4.      Add butter and salt to your liking and a tea spoon of milk powder (to balance the color of the tea) the blend it until the tea is a little foamy
  5.      Suja is ready to be served.
Final look of "ready to drink" suja 
Krematop powder
Now this next technique is to make suja the cheater’s way… (lol) and I have no idea who thought of it, I saw my mother make it and she drinks it this way because she is not allowed too much butter and in this technique you can do away with the butter. But you will need “Krematop” it is a non-dairy creamer, this is actually used to make coffee. I have only used krematop but using this logic, I am sure any non-dairy creamer will do the trick. Anyways to go on with the steps:
Repeat step 1 till 3 from the previous method and add the non-dairy creamer and salt to the tea to your liking…believe it or not it gives the same taste and looks. Only few people notice the difference. Krematop has this buttery taste to it so it substitutes butter really well. The justice is done and it is like no compromise is made…in fact this easy suja is taken by most people who loves suja but can’t take butter for health reasons. It is like a rescue suja for them…haha
Anyways I hope you guys will be able to make suja easily hence forth…enjoy the tasty suja dear readers ^_^

Comments

  1. ooooh, the cheating tip is really useful =)
    Is there a particular time it is drunk - like after meals, in winter, in the evening etc ?

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    1. Oh m glad it helped u :) and as for when we drink suja? There no rules for it, most of the time it is served during festivals, family gatherings, to guests...but sometimes we just drink it because we feel like drinking it =) bottom line is you can drink it whenever and with whoever you want

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  2. the tea leaves i bought from 8-11 isnt good at all. i get a greenish tea when boiled instead of the dark brown colour. sem ra she sii suja ge taste ta dhe :(

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    Replies
    1. Are you sure you bought "ja-pachu"? Its better you buy from the local market instead of the stores, 8-11 usually keeps bkk processed foods so your chances of getting the right tea leaves is thin...I have a feeling you might have bought green tea instead of "ja-pachu" and anyways you are always welcome at my place for a cup of suja dear :)

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  3. very interesting! I'm a tea blogger living in Bangkok and I love hearing about tea in different places. I guess I could keep asking Google about tea from there, I mean the produced plant, not how to make butter tea from it. it is really tea right (camelia sinensis, normal tea), processed as black tea?

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    1. I am not sure about the name of the tea, but I got it from my village, its actually a tree. My family cuts the branches of n dries the leaves and the twigs n stores it. I ll try to take a picture of that plant and share it with you if you are interested. Hope it helps

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  4. Before I went to Bhutan I didn't know what to expect. When I finally tried it for the first time I coundn't finish the whole cup cause I was not expecting it to be salty haha The taste grew on me. I had it a few time during my stay in Bhutan, sometimes with some puff rice which kinda reduced the saltiness making it easier to drink haha Anyway, interesting experience. I would have to drink more to convince myself, but I'm glad I had a chance to try something new!

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