Going along with the spirit of spring and all things fresh, I just had to feature one of my favorite thirst quenching drinks that is a staple in local cafes called “Mamak” back home in Malaysia. This drink is called Teh O’ Ais. The name of this drink is in my native language, Malay.
Teh = Tea
O’ = Without milk
Before I begin with the recipe, I would like to briefly explain what a Mamak is.
A “Mamak” is basically a stripped down, no frills, local cafe, open 24/7 that can be found at every corner of any neighborhood typically in the city, Kuala Lumpur. The Mamak is also a popular gathering spot for quick meals and large social gatherings as you can see below.
In addition to serving Malaysian fusion street food, it is also the place to watch soccer matches in huge crowds.
Soccer was invented by the Chinese, but popularized by the British and since Malaysia was colonized by the British from the 18th-20th century during Imperialism, the sport gained popularity amongst the locals. I can definitely say that soccer is the most popular sport in Malaysia.
Now that you have an idea of how one simple drink can have so many connections to Malaysian culture, let’s get down to making it.
This recipe has been tested and belongs to my boyfriend, Jon who looked forward to having this every day after school when he was 16-years-old. I adapted it for less amounts of sugar since Jon’s original recipe called for tablespoons and I thought that was too much since he likes his really sweet and opted for teaspoons of sugar instead.
“I was practically a diabetic that whole year (I made it)” – Jon
Teh O’ Ais
- 1 Lipton tea bag
- 1 cup sugar / 6 tsp sugar
- Full kettle of hot water
- 6 key limes
- A tray of ice
- Lightly steep the tea bag in hot water. So do this for only 30 seconds. If and when you do steep it longer, the end result will turn out bitter and thick. The key thing with this is to only to extract some of its tea properties so that it will have the light taste of tea. (The picture below is a good example of what you should be looking for. A good tip would be to reuse the same tea bag for more servings).
- Prepare a sugar syrup by adding the sugar and 1 cup of hot water. This will create a thick and dense sugar syrup.
- Or you can individually add sugar into the tea like I did. I used 6 tsp of sugar for a 12oz/355ml bottle. Add sugar according to your taste of course.
- Stir and make sure the sugar or sugar syrup dissolves and becomes evenly distributed. Work fast while the tea is hot to avoid sugar lumps.
- Half and squeeze 2 key limes into each serving (seed and all goes in to contribute to the flavor).
- Add a handful of ice into each serving and stir evenly.
- Serve immediately.
From the photo at the beginning of the post, you can see that I chose to make a huge serving of Teh O’ Ais for 3. You can have that option too! These babies were chilled in the refrigerator before I packed them to be enjoyed on the rest of a beautiful sunny day by the beach.
TIP: Make sure the tea is diluted so you don’t get a heavy dose of tea in your drink! I simply can’t stress this enough. Also, don’t skimp on the ice because tons of ice in this drink definitely hits the spot!
This is strictly a recreational photo that my lovely friend, Stephanie made. She had Teh O’ Ais for the first time that day and enjoyed it saying that is was “really refreshing and good.” She even made this!
Key limes are available all year round, and I pick them up from my local market, so take this opportunity to try some and cool down at the same time! Hope you guys found this Malaysian staple delicious and easy to make. Let me know if you’d like more Malaysian recipes.
Tried it? Tell me what you think, how much sugar you used to suit your taste buds and more by dropping a comment on the top of the post!
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