The past few days we’ve had summer-like temperatures here in New York and we ate outside on our tiny balcony for the first time this year. I made Shrimp Pad Thai and one of my favorite summer drinks, Thai Iced Tea.
I could have just gone to one of the many Asian grocery stores in the city, but I really wanted to come up with an all-natural version from scratch. As much as I like the Thai tea you get in the supermarket or at restaurants, it does contain a fair amount of additives and food coloring (ever wonder where that bright orange color comes from?). Since this recipe is part of our latest GrubKit (checkout my post on it here), we’ve done a lot of research and testing on this. In the end, we’ve settled on Assam tea as the base. The flavorful Assam was our favorite when combined with milk and it also adds some bright, natural color to our iced tea.
I’ve included two versions of Thai iced tea. One is more traditional – but also packs in a lot more calories and fat – and for the healthier version, I’ve cut down on the sugar and used whole milk instead of sweetened condensed. Feel free to play around with the ratios and types of dairy, but if you’re trying to replicate the Thai tea you’ve had at restaurants, go for the first recipe.
How to Make Thai Iced Tea From Scratch
Restaurant-style Thai Iced Tea:
In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. In the meantime, add tea leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and star anise into a tea bag. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, turn off heat and add bag. Gently stir and make sure bag is fully submerged.
After 5 minutes, remove bag, add in star anise powder, vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until dissolved and cool down to room temperature. Once ready to serve, fill 3/4 of a large glass with ice, then top with tea, leaving room for evaporated milk. Stir in the evaporated milk and serve.
Healthier version of Thai Iced Tea:
When tea has finished steeping, only add 1 tbsp. of sugar and omit sweetened condensed milk. Mix in Stevia until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. When serving over ice, add whole milk or half & half instead of evaporated.
Total Time: 10 minutes, plus time to cool tea
Yield: makes 2 large glasses
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