Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sweeten Your Routine Tea Time with This Bold Burmese tea

Yum


Studying for the medical school board exam was definitely an experience of a lifetime. I honestly would have never thought that I have the attention span long enough sit still for 12-14 hours at my study desk, until the reality actually left me no other choices. What kept me sane during the process were my friends, a really good bag of jasmine rice (I like to binge eat bowlfuls of rice while reading. A warm rice cooked until softened, generously doused in a trio of sesame oil, sweet soy sauce and light soy sauce, eaten straight with a spoon while watching lectures have always been my long-cherished underrated pleasures), and the prospect of visiting my family again.


pulled tea



After the exam, I flew straight back to Myanmar for three weeks worth of pampering with my families and old friends. Every time I go back to Myanmar, I was weirdly surprised by how loud and full of life my family is. Within the first hour of seeing my family, they have already made comments about my messy hair and bad fashion sense Of course, like normal people, I just responded by laughing nervously, and going straight into the bathroom to fix my hair. (For the fashion, I think they are the ones with the bad taste. My fashion is impeccable. Thank you very much). But, my families are hands-down the most loving people I have ever met. I thank them, everyday, for setting my standard high for the love I think I deserve, and imbuing me with the entitlement of a tall white male.

During these weeks in Myanmar, my life slowed down; I woke up when my body told me to. I ate, drank, moved, and even hanged out with my friends according to my body – a complete submission to hedonism. To those who say this type of living is mundane, I would respond that they really don’t know how to appreciate little variations that make each day unique.

Moreover, I was pleasantly reminded how good the Burmese sweet tea is. I have forgotten that when I was young, my idea of happiness was as simple as seeing my mom brewing a big pot of tea when I come back from school. However, this deep dark tea, resembling to heavily roasted coffee, heavily sweetened with condensed milk was more than just a treat for a random greedy kid. It is also intricately weaved into the Burmese culture. The act of going to the tea shops to hang out with your friends, exchanging news, placing bets, or inquiring which psychic to see for one’s love life while nursing a tooth achingly sweetened cup of tea is universal throughout the country anytime of the day.  I guess, in the US, people eat Auntie Anne’s pretzels and go to the mall, and Burmese people go to tea shops.

Tea, by topic is vast and large, but Burmese drinking tea can be broken down into two broad categories - acho chauk (dried sweet black tea) and akyan chaut (dried crude green tea). The former is actually similar to British black tea, and the tea leaves are cut into almost powdery consistency to allow maximum extraction, resulting in a richer and stronger note. The latter is basically unsweetened green tea. 

Making the sweet tea is deceptively simple, yet like all other simple things, variations can be enormous. I will refrain from flooding you with details, partly because what I think is a great cup of tea literally might not be yours (pun-intended). Thus, while reading the below instructions, I encourage you to experiment with the proportion of each ingredient. Of course, you still have to keep the changes within reasons. Nobody likes a crazy person.

Now I am back in the States. Unfortunately, I will be starting my classes soon again, and my pursuit of hedonism is coming to an end. Well at least, people in the United States don’t make fun of my fashion sense (at least, not in front of me).


pulled tea



Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons of Burmese black tea leaves
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of condensed milk (room temperature) (2 if you like sweet)
  • 2 teaspoons of evaporated milk (room temperature)
  • pinch of salt


Notes:
If you don’t have access to Burmese black tea leaves, use Lipton black tea sachets. Cut open the tea bags, and use 3 tablespoons instead of 2.


Directions

-       Take two teaspoons worth of condensed milk and evaporated milk out from the fridge, so they can come to the room temperature.


Scoop the loose tea leaves into a small tea-pot or a Turkish coffee pot. Put the cold water, and a pinch of salt. I would like to stress here the adjective “small” is the operative word here. If you use a large pot, where the water cannot sufficiently cover the bottom, you can end up burning the tea leaves. It sounds both weird and embarrassing to set off the fire alarm while making tea, but I have been there and done that. Don’t be like me.

Bring the water to a simmering boil. Turn off the heat. Let the tea steep off the heat for one minute. In the mean time, I like to be productive by placing one teaspoon of condensed milk in a cup. Here as well, be sure to use room temperature condensed milk, because the fridge-cold milky goop will suck the heat straight from your tea, and you will be left with unfavorable tepidity.

When the one-minute timer is up, pour the hot tea over a strainer, directly over the condensed milk. Finish off by drizzling the evaporated milk. 

Stir slowly and lazily. In fact, you don’t want to stir all the condensed milk straight into the tea. In that way, as you are finishing the tea, the tea get sweeter, and you are left with gooey brown mixture of tea and milk at the bottom as a treat. Taste and put more condensed milk if your heart so desires.



print recipe

Burmese sweet tea
This Burmese sweet tea is full of complexity and depth.  
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons Burmese black tea leaves
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons Evaporated milk
  • Pinch Salt
Instructions
Take two teaspoons worth of condensed milk and evaporated milk out from the fridge, so they can come to the room temperature.Scoop the loose tea leaves into a small tea-pot or a Turkish coffee pot. Put the cold water, and a pinch of salt. I would like to stress here the adjective “small” is the operative word here. If you use a large pot, where the water cannot sufficiently cover the bottom, you can end up burning the tea leaves. It sounds both weird and embarrassing to set off the fire alarm while making tea, but I have been there and done that. Don’t be like me.Bring the water to a simmering boil. Turn off the heat. Let the tea steep off the heat for one minute. In the mean time, I like to be productive by placing one teaspoon of condensed milk in a cup. Here as well, be sure to use room temperature condensed milk, because the fridge-cold milky goop will suck the heat straight from your tea, and you will be left with unfavorable tepidity.When the one-minute timer is up, pour the hot tea over a strainer, directly over the condensed milk. Finish off by drizzling the evaporated milk. Stir slowly and lazily. In fact, you don’t want to stir all the condensed milk straight into the tea. In that way, as you are finishing the tea, the tea get sweeter, and you are left with gooey brown mixture of tea and milk at the bottom as a treat. Taste and put more condensed milk if your heart so desires.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 cup

4 comments:

  1. I just like the story ^_^
    Honestly I am too lazy to make one.
    greentea is fine for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thanks but this is actually very easy to make

      Delete
  2. Thanks. I'm looking for the recipe as I'm craving for it.

    ReplyDelete