Making proper Thai iced tea isn’t that hard. But given how long it took me to finally get it right, you’d think it was the most complicated procedure in the world.
Maybe it’s just me, but trying to decipher the mystery of the sweet concoction I’d savor at Thai restaurants was challenging and frustrating at first. Every recipe I consulted told me to add sweetened condensed milk to the prepared, cooled ice tea. No matter what I tried, it seemed like I could never get the right ratio of sweetened condensed milk to black tea to make it sweet enough. It never looked right either, with globs and blobs of the syrupy milk floating in my cold tea. Even thinning out the thick syrup with hot water to create my own milky version of a simple syrup didn’t work.
It wasn’t until the local Thai restaurant told me their secret that I finally figured it out. And now I shall share it with all of you (who probably already know all of this, thus making me feel all that much more silly for having taken years to figure this out). No matter. I’m too proud, happy and satisfied to be finally sitting here – in the 150 bazillion degree heat of a Texas summer – with my lovely glass of Thai iced tea to care about that.
First you need to brew up some strong black tea. Any black tea will do, but one flavored with star anise is traditional. Be warned, if you buy a “thai tea” blend at the store (you can find it easily at any Asian food mart) it may also contain a bit of red or yellow food dye, so be careful not to get any on your clothes or you’ll end up with instant stains.
I use about four heaping soup spoons of tea leaves to a full kettle of boiling hot water and pour the hot water directly over the tea leaves, giving it all a quick stir with a spoon before letting it steep – about 5 minutes.
After it’s finished steeping, I pour it through a fine meshed strainer into another pitcher and add about a cup of sugar. Stir this up and put it in the refrigerator to cool down. Yes, it’s REALLY REALLY strong and REALLY REALLY sweet. If you want to have this without the milk, you might add about a third of the same amount of water and then pour it over ice before serving.
Or hey, you can drink it straight up and then mow your yard. And the neighbor’s yard. And the side of the highway. And then do something nice and relaxing, like build a house out of toothpicks.
To serve, fill a glass with ice and then pour about two third of it full with the dark tea and the last third with milk. Voila! easy-peasy Thai Iced Tea.
Yesterday I had a group of ladies over for a handwork circle: hand-spinning wool on spinning wheels and knitting/crocheting.
Naturally, I put out some tea, cookies and tea sandwiches:
This isn’t the first time I’ve made my curried tuna tea sandwiches, but it struck me that they are always the most popular of anything I put out for guests. I thought I’d share the recipe here:
Curried Tuna Tea Sandwiches
1 can chunk light tuna (in water)
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon curry powder
2 Tablespoons capers
4 slices honey wheat bread
Drain the tuna, then combine with next four ingredients. Divide mixture onto two slices of bread, and cover each with the remaining slices. Trim off the crusts. (Or you can leave them on if you like. I only take them off for guests.) Cut each sandwich into four small triangles. Serve immediately.
You don’t want these to sit out too long or the bread will get soggy.