Thai Iced Tea
Posted by Wit: 12th September 2005
There are few things that I will not turn down without question such as my quailty time (again with a capital 'T'), listening to my favorite Thai music, a good cup of coffee and last but by no means least a glass of that cool and sweet treat-Thai Ice Tea. Whenever I go out to eat at a Thai resturant here in DC I may not always order a plate of super-human spicy Pad Gra Pao (Thai beef and basil for blog 'newbies') but I always have to have a glass of Thai Iced Tea, or Cha Yen in Thai.
It's the first thing I will order but I am sometimes careful about ordering it in Thai since depending on the tone you use to say it 'Cha' could mean 'Tea' or 'Slowly'. 'Yen' in Thai means 'cool' so said correctly you will say 'Tea Cool' universally understood to mean 'Thai Tea.' If you say it with the wrong tone however you might say something weird like 'slowly cool' in which case your Thai waiter or waitress will just look at you strangely like your some beatnik poet with a thing for adjectives, trust me I know!
Fortunately for me however I have the answer to not only saving myself this embarrassment but also the secret to having Thai Tea anytime I want without annoying my neighborhood Thai resturant hanging around outside their door waiting for them to open just so I can get my Thai Tea fix. Since it is really simple to make I just learned to make Thai Tea myself at home, hence the topic of this weeks food blog. This is the brand of Thai Tea that I use which I buy from the Thai market in Maryland I told you about before.
Most asian grocery stores would have Thai Tea leaves you can buy but if not then you can check out food stores on the Internet where you can order anything and everything to make Thai food at home and have it shipped directly to you.
Once you have some Thai Tea leaves you only need sugar and water everything is simple just a bit time consuming. Once you get the hang of it you can have Thai Tea made in just about 20 minutes. Recipes and methods may vary but I'm gonna give you the low down on what works for me. Ready?
First thing I do is fill up my pitcher I use for the tea with as much water as I can get in there. Since most of the time that your making the tea your boiling water the more water you put in, the less water evaporates so you end up with more tea. One thing to pay attention to is that they use very strong dye for the Tea leaves that give Thai Tea its beautiful color. This also means it stains anything it gets on so be careful with any spillage this is not Lipton folks! Really that's about as complicated as it gets so no need to write this all down, 'k!
I pour the water in a large pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Usually I can get about three pitchers of Thai Tea out of one bag of powder. See where my thumb is? From there to the top of what's in the bag is how much you should use, about 1/3 of the bag, to make one gallon of tea.
Once the water starts boiling I add the Tea leaves and set the timer on my microwave for 15 minutes. Yum, already looks good huh? This is the boring part for most folks. While the leaves boil for 15 minutes you have to constantly stir them. As a Buddhist this is a good time for me to practice my 'Stirring Leaves' meditation....
This is the tricky part. Once the tea is done you pour it back into the pitcher. I use 'the sock', a funnel and a large fine mesh strainer to catch all the tea leaves so all that goes in is just tea. Not bad this time actually. Like I said this is the messy part so you can see why I do it in the sink. It took practice to actually get it to go in this good!
This is 'the sock'. I've seen this used in making Thai tea and coffee and they are easy to buy in any asian market. I have no idea what it is called in Thai I just call it 'the sock'. Actually kinda reminds me of my socks back when I was a teenager lol. Ewwww!
Next you add two cups of suger to the tea for sweetening.... Stir everything well. The tea is still hot so it takes no time for the sugar to dissolve. Screw on the lid to the pitcher and rinse off the mess on the sides and in the sink....
Voila! You have a pitcher of freshly made, still very hot Thai Tea! For best results you should put the pitcher in the fridge over night to cool. For taste you can use half and half or coffee mate with your Thai Tea as you can see here. Unfortunately to set up this shot I had to make a glass of tea while it was still too hot and it melted the ice so the sharp, distinct line between the tea and the half and half is blurred. Bummer.
That's the main advantage to using the traditional half and half cream. When you add half and half it is thick enough to form a solid top layer across the top of your class which looks really cool. I used to use my flavored coffee mate since I already have it at home for my coffee though it doesn't add anything extra to the taste. Whether you use coffee mate, half and half or whatever you prefer only put in about about two spoonfuls, too much and you over power the taste.
When your ready just stir the tea to mix it all then sit back, drink and enjoy. Thai Ramayana stirs are optional.
Written by Wit for thai-blogs.com