All of a sudden it is Summer and time to decide on some cooling drinks to sip in the late afternoon. I did not grow up drinking Iced teas and in all the years I have lived in the United States it is still a drink that never comes to mind when I want to quench my thirst with something refreshing (besides a great summer cocktail!)
However this Iced Thai Tea from my latest cooking mag. (bon appetit to be precise) has won me over completely. And, it was even something that I would have skipped over when making my first peruse through the new issue seeing as the title was “Tea It Up”
My son was the one who found it and said I just had to make it. We have this new ritual (me and him) which is when any new cooking issue comes to the house I bring it with me when I pick my kids up from school and leave it on his seat as a little treat for him. As much as I want to, I don’t even take the plastic off and have a sneak-peek.
He really appreciates having the privilege of ripping it open and getting to see what foods are being highlighted that month or season. But what he really loves is telling me what I have to cook, and if I hum and haw about it, he reads the ingredients to show me how quick and easy it will be. I’m afraid he is mostly a sucker for the colorful juicy pictures of finished dishes, and the picture of a giant glass filled with ice and a creamy pale orange iced-tea with the word “Thai” in the title was no exception. First of all, if the dish smacks of Asian flavors whatsoever it will always be demanded, not to mention he is going through a black tea phase, (my fault, as Barry’s Tea, the tea I drank growing up in Ireland is always being pulled out and brewed to have with a piece of cake or a biscuit (cookie)). How could I refuse!
I have to say that I am glad to have kids that push me to try things I would normally not bother with, like this glorious Thai-Style Iced Tea. It is a bit of work, a tad expensive (requires a vanilla bean which cost me $6) and it needs time to chill, but it was so good it is what I am taking to my friend’s house for Brunch this weekend!
You will need:
8 cups cold water
10 star anise pods
3 tbs sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (instructions below)
15 black tea bags
1/2 cup heavy cup
1/2 sweetened condensed milk
ice cubes (for serving)
1 – Scrape the seeds from vanilla bean like so: using a sharp knife cut vanilla bean down the enter length of pod. Hold one end with finger and scrape the inside of the pod with a knife, running it down the entire pod. The seeds will collect on the knife as you go. (Don’t throw away the scraped pods as you can make vanilla sugar with it – see picture below!).
2 – Combine 1 cup of water with sugar, star anise and the vanilla bean seeds in a small pot and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
3 – Combine the tea bags with the 7 remaining cups of water in a large pitcher or bowl and add the cooked water mixture to it when it is done simmering. Place in the fridge and chill for 4 hours.
5 – Strain the mixture using a sieve into another pitcher and add the cream and condensed milk. Stir everything together.
Serve over ice, or as is if you want it to be more intense. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.