Malaysian Monday 10: Teh O Ais Limau

Monday, October 5, 2009

With warmer weather on the way, I figured it was a good time to give the iced tea a whirl. Teh-O-Ais-Limau (Iced Lime Tea) is ubiquitous throughout Malaysia and Singapore. It would be very rare indeed to not find this drink at a restaurant, café or hawker stall.

I find myself wishing for an ice-cold “teh-o-ais-limau” during the hot Sydney summers, but this ultra simple drink can really only be found in Asian restaurants. I wonder why? (Yes, I know I can get bottled iced-tea but that’s not the same at all).

It is so simple to make because it literally contains all the ingredients in its name – black/plain tea (teh-o), ice (ais) and lime (limau). At the restaurants/cafes/stalls, this drink is made by mixing sugar syrup into black tea, then ice is added and finally a squeeze of lime. The lime is popped into the tea for “garnish”. When making iced-tea in Australia, I use the Tahitian lime (similar to Limau Nipis), but the “proper” lime to use is Limau Kasturi (it’s green on the outside but orangey inside – I’m not sure but it may be similar to the Kalamansi lime).

Tea purists will turn away from this blog in digust now, but to make Teh-O-Ais-Limau at home, I simply steep a teabag in hot water for a while (a stronger flavour is preferable, and I used Ceylon tea), add sugar to taste, pour it over lots of ice-cubes and add a dash of lime. You could even make up a jug to store in the fridge.

Another beverage that is common throughout Malaysia is Teh-Tarik (literally “Pull Tea”). It is called “pull-tea” because the person making the tea holds two metal jugs quite a distance apart and pours the tea back and forth, “pulling” as he goes. You can watch a video here.

Teh tarik made using fresh milk

Again, it is simple to make at home, just brew a strong, sweet milky tea and pour from a jug into a cup and repeat until it froths. But there is a secret ingredient! Condensed milk. I don’t have any at home (because it is way too tempting), and I use some evaporated milk instead. The resulting bubbles are definitely more pronounced than the tea made using fresh milk.

Teh tarik made using evaporated milk 
Look at them bubbles! 

Malaysians take both these teas quite sweet so the phrase you need to learn when travelling through the country is: “kurang manis” (kurang=less, manis=sweet). Order away like a pro – “Teh-O-Ais-Limau, kurang manis”. ☺

Another version of “Teh-tarik” is “Teh-halia” (literally ginger tea). Ginger juice is added to the milky, sweet tea giving it an aromatic spicy edge. Very tasty!

Mr. Kitchen Hand actually likes this drink, so the scores are high this week (finally!).

The MKH Scale-O-Meter
Appearance: 4. “Looks authentic and refreshing”
Taste:3.5 . “Just missing a little sweetness”
Overall comment: Can’t wait for summer to start so I can get into one of these.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Malaysian Monday, and have a great start to the week.

We are still away visiting Nana and Pop so tomorrow’s EOWTTA (eating our way through the alphabet) will be postponed until next week. We should be back by the middle of the week, and happy hols to anyone on school holidays ☺


Ellie said...

I am so addicted to your malaysia monday!! Teh O Ais Limau... a forgetten name for Ice Lemon Tea! I am a purist, can't have teh tarik without condensed milk. :p

Barbara said...

Most interesting post..I loved learning about the different teas. The simple black tea with lime gets my vote.

Juliana said...

It is interesting because in Brazil, ice tea most of the time is served with lime :-)

shaz said...

Thanks everyone . I'm still away with limited net access, can't wait to come visit your posts when I get back :)

Carly said...

Very interesting post! There's nothing better than iced tea in the summer. Unfortunately I'm from the states (Chicago) so temps are already dropping. From now until about mid-May, my tea will be taken super hot. I don't see why I couldn't add a bit of condensed milk though. Yum!

shaz said...

Hi Carly - we've just had a few days of really wet and cold weather! I needed the hot tea again, hopefully this turn of events won't last too long

Karine said...

This tea sounds so delicious! thanks for sharing :)