Hello! Laurel here and I am so excited to be on board with the LK team! Do you like sweet things? How about spiced things? And most importantly, do you like them….and this part really is crucial…together? Me too! Have a Thai iced tea with me, and let’s chat about this crazy concoction.
Thai food came into my life pretty late in the game. I don’t remember my first serving of pad thai, my first green papaya salad, or even my first taste of spicy, rich, coconut-milk-based tom kha kai soup. But I do remember my first Thai iced tea. Tall & frosty over ice, with hints of vanilla, the sharp taste of cinnamon and other spices hidden just underneath a strong tea flavor and powerfully sweet creaminess…..it was a game changer. It was also bright orange, and was most definitely served in a plain white Styrofoam cup with a plastic lid from my nearest Thai takeout place. I was hooked instantly on this rich, yet refreshing beverage.
Many, many years later (as in, last week), I learned that the vibrant Orange Creamsicle-like hue actually comes from yellow and red food dyes traditionally added to Thai tea blends. Why bright orange? Who knows? You may notice that this recipe doesn’t call for any dyes, which means it won’t look exactly like the Thai iced tea available from your own local takeout joint. But otherwise it’s a dead ringer for the first Thai tea I ever tried, rich in steeped tea flavor, a blend of spices and vanilla and luxurious creaminess….in other words, it’s about the smoothest thing you could pour over ice and cool off with on a hot, late summer afternoon.
*FIVE SPICE POWDER: This is a tasty mix of, yes, five spices—star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. It’s not expensive, so stock up for this recipe and keep it in your pantry to add interest & intrigue to stir-fries, marinades, and all kinds of other dishes
Hint: Want to take it up to yet another level? Try mixing up a batch and chilling it in ice pop molds for a perfect frozen treat.