16 March 2009

Dancing with tea

(press the play button above to see video of Thai Tea Pullers... amazing!)

If you've studied the beverage section of your local Thai food restaurant, you've undoubtedly come across Thai Iced Tea. The orange colored, nutty tea diluted with sweetened condensed milk and poured over ice is a delicious accompaniment to Thailand's often spicy dishes. I'd be willing to bet, though, that you may have never had "Pulled" Thai Iced Tea.

Recently, I took my visiting father to Bangkok's Weekend Market and made sure to stop at one of my favorite vendors. Located on the main road-side circle route of the market, roughly around section 12, you'll find the Thai Tea Pullers who for about 35 baht per cup will provide you with a frothy delicacy and roadside entertainment. With a boom box playing, the vendors twirl and dance while pouring your tea from metal canisters located at the end of fully stretched arms. You're left with the nutty familiarity of Thai Iced Tea, but with an added airy bonus. The evaporated milk loses its canned syrupy-ness and mingles with the rich flavors of the tea.

Thanks, dad, for the above video of our visit. Oh, and with great embarrassment, I will add a brief note. Knowing that I was going to post this video today, I crept into our home's kitchen (full of confidence) while the kids were napping. Pulling out my tea makings and two pseudo canisters, I combined the ingredients and drew my breath in. Giving it a try, I spun and poured... and laughed at myself as the tea actually landed in the opposite canister. Stretching further and twirling a little faster.... cheeks blazing... I grabbed a dish towel and began mopping.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 37:
Curried potato dumplings
Here is a perfect accompaniment to your own homemade Thai Iced Tea (although, I'd recommend leaving the tea pulling to the professionals). I recently served these little dumplings at a dinner party to rave reviews. The flavors are strong so you'll only want one or two per guest.

2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup of frozen green peas, thawed
1-2 tablespoons green curry paste
Won ton wrappers, approximately 20
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups of orange juice

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain to remove cooking liquid and mash thoroughly. Add the peas and one tablespoon of curry until well combined. Taste and add more curry, depending on desired heat. To assemble the dumpling, place a Won Ton wrapper on a flat surface. Have a small bowl of water at the ready. Place a small amount of filling (about 1/2 tablespoon) in the center of the won ton. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and place a dot at each corner. Gently bring the corners to the middle top and use more water to create a seal. Set aside on a parchment lined plate. Repeat until wrappers and filling are gone. In a saucepan, combine the soy sauce and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Add 2-3 dumplings at a time and cook until done (about 3 minutes each). Remove gently onto a spoon (Asian style soup spoons work well) and place entire dumpling, including the spoon, on to serving tray. Serve after allowing to cool slightly.

Yield: 20 one-bite appetizers


  1. WOW! This is sic.

  2. My husband and I made these last night as an appetizer prior to yellow-bean marinated tofu and water spinach. They were fantastic! My husband can't stop talking about them this morning...This is fantastic as we have plenty of leftovers and will be making dumplings for days! We also whipped up the nam prik. In two days, we'll be trying it with your vendor chicken recipe. Thanks for bringing the street vendors to our home!


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