Cooking with Alison

How to Make Malaysian Pulled Tea (Teh Tarik)

In Asian, Drinks, How-To, Other Asian Foods on April 28, 2014 at am

I am in love with Hong Kong style milk tea (see recipe here), and on a trip to Malaysia, I discovered that I love Malaysian pulled tea, teh tarik, just as much.  The delicious teh tarik, which means “pull” tea, is made using sweetened creamer.  Some people add evaporated milk as well.  What sets teh tarik apart from other teas is the process of pouring the prepared tea back and forth between two containers until the tea tastes and feels smooth, silky, and light in weight.  Apparently, you’re also supposed to develop a good froth.  The further the distance between your two containers while you’re pouring the tea back and forth, the better your tea will be.  Be careful not to get splattered by the hot tea, and wear clothes that you don’t care about, because the tea stains are hard to wash out.

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Outside of Malaysia, it can be difficult to find the best tea leaves for making teh tarik.  But luckily, I have been surprised by how good some of the instant teh tarik powders are.  The brand Boh is very popular in Malaysia and is quite good.  My favourite is Aroma Ipoh’s instant ginger milk tea.  I found it in a Chinese grocery store in Toronto, ON.  

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Teh Tarik (Malaysian Pulled Tea) Recipe

For this authentic method, you will need a cotton tea strainer and a metal ring with handle.  This recipe makes 4 to 6 cups of tea and doubles well.  

8 tablespoons loose tea leaves and/or tea dust/fannings  (Notes:  Broken tea leaves (also known as tea dust or tea fannings) are lower in cost and will result in a stronger brewed tea than whole tea leaves.  I use a combination of whole tea leaves and broken tea leaves.  If want to use tea bags, remove the tea from the bags.  If the tea leaves that you are using do not give you a strong enough tea, increase the amount of tea leaves to 9 or 10 tablespoons.  In terms of the type of tea to use, try to use a combination of different types of black teas.  For a very thorough review of some of the most popular Malaysian tea brands that work well in teh tarik, see here.  I used Boh tea.  I didn’t like the flavour of Sabah tea in this recipe.)

sweetened creamer  (Note:  I purchased the sweetened creamer in Malaysia.  A good substitute is sweetened condensed milk.)

evaporated milk  (Note:  Not all places use evaporated milk, but if you do, the best brand to use is Black & White, a product from Holland.  You can add the evaporated milk at the same time as the sweetened creamer.  If the tea is not hot enough by this point, you can reheat it before pulling it.)

Boil 4 cups of filtered water over high heat in a tall stove-top tea pot.  Then turn off the heat.  Place the loose leaf tea leaves into a cotton tea strainer (also known as a sackcloth bag) fitted on a round metal holder.  Place this inside the tea pot so that the metal holder rests on the rim of the tea pot and the tea leaves are steeping in the hot water.  Steep for up to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea to be.

If you are serving all of the tea at once, then remove the cotton tea strainer.  Stir in the sweetened creamer to taste.  Then holding the pot of tea in one hand and a second, empty tea pot in the other hand, carefully pour the tea in a thin, steady stream from the first tea pot into the second tea pot.  As you pour the tea out, gradually increase the distance between the two pots so that you have a long steady flow of tea.  As your first tea pot becomes closer to being emptied, gradually shorten the distance between the two pots as you pour out the rest of the tea.  Repeat this by pouring the tea back and forth between the two pots for a total of at least 6 pours.  The tea should be getting frothy.

If you are making one or two cups of tea at a time, then pour the desired amount of tea into a large heat proof cup or jug.  Set the pot of tea aside.  The tea leaves and cotton strainer may continue to steep in the hot water for up to 10 more minutes.  Holding the cup of tea in one hand and an empty tea pot in the other hand, carefully pour the tea in a thin, steady stream from the first container into the second one.  As you pour the tea out, gradually increase the distance between the two containers so that you have a long steady flow of tea.  As your first container becomes closer to being emptied, gradually shorten the distance between the two containers as you pour out the rest of the tea.  Repeat this by pouring the tea back and forth between the two containers for a total of at least 6 pours.  The tea should be getting frothy.

Prepare the serving cups by swirling some boiling water around in them to warm the cups.  Discard the boiling water.  Then add the pulled tea to each of the tea cups.  Serve and enjoy immediately.

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  1. I love both HK style milk tea and teh tarik! Another one I simply love is indian chai masala!

  2. I am going to make it and taste it for the first time. So excited!

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