When ever I prepare Suja it reminds me of a funny incident that happened with my brother. My father and brother were home on a Sunday afternoon. My mother has gone out to the Sunday market for vegetable shopping and my sister and I were at a friend’s place.
We had some guests in the house and my brother was told to get some Soe Jah ( Jah=Tea, we say soe jah in respect). If it was just friends or cousins we say Jah. He left the room and when he failed to bring in the tea even after 10 minutes my father decided to see what’s taking him too long. Usually preparing tea takes 2-3 minutes. When my father entered the kitchen my brother was busy using the tea churner ( which is called Jah sum used to make suja). My father was like “what are you doing”, then he realized that my brother misheard the word soe-jah for suja. There was a roar of laughter inside the kitchen and when the guests heard the story they couldn’t suppress it too. We still laugh when ever we talk of the incident.
Well, Suja is our national tea but I believe its origin came form Tibet. As Tibet is a very clod place they prepare suja from Yak’s milk and butter to keep themselves warm. Suja is very tasty with buttery flavor.
In Bhutan Suja is mostly consumed in the Western and Northern Parts where the climate is colder than south and east. Suja is preferred mostly in winter when the weather is very cold.
When I first came here I brought some Jahril ( tea leaves for Suja). Sorry I don’t know what it is called in English. The leaves are unusually bigger than any other other tea leaves. It has a mild smell and it gives strong bitter taste if used in access. I have the salt- less butter bought from the near by store, we can also use salted butter because we have to add salt anyway.
Jasu ( suja churner is basically make of plastic ( pipe) kind of substance but in olden days jasus are either made of bamboo or wood. The image above is one of the traditional jasu. Electric churner has now replaced traditional jasu in most people’s homes because it is easier to prepare suja using the electric churner and it gives even tastier suja.
It can be prepared in quick and easy steps. Since I don’t have jasu ( churner) I used a water bottle to make this one.
Preparation time; 8-10 minutes
- small block of Butter
- one tablespoon of Jahril ( Tea leaves)
- Salt to taste
- one tablespoon of milk powder ( optional)
- Jasu ( churner)/ water bottle
Fill a pot half with water ( around 1 1/2 ltr of water, add a spoonful of tea leaves. Put on the heat.
Let the water boil until it gives a dark brown color. Remove from the heat, use a strainer to skim the leaves.
Then pour the skimmed water in a churner or water bottle. Add salt and butter and milk powder .
shake well, put the tea in another pot. Repeat with the rest of the remaining skimmed water. It will give you a light brown color.
Put on the heat for 3 minutes. Serve warm with some biscuits or cookies. The buttery taste will melt your heart.