Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chai (Spiced Milk Tea)

Sometimes, all it takes to end a meal other than a dessert is a cup of freshly made milk tea. I grew up drinking pulled tea (“Teh Tarik) which I think is made of black tea and condensed milk. The reason it was called pulled tea is because the maker will pour the tea between two mugs back and forth creating a thick forth on top. Whenever I go to Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, ordering pulled tea is a must  regardless how much I have stuffed myself with other delicious Malaysian dishes.

Now what I’ve made at home is not pulled tea. Obviously it requires skills to pour back and forth without spilling. I can’t juggle and I’m pretty sure my tea pulling skill is on par with my juggling ability ha! I never had spiced milk tea until I came to Australia and I have developed as much fondness for spiced milk tea as pulled tea. I suppose they are pretty similar other than the former contains spices and the latter is without spices.

Chai (Spiced Milk Tea)

(Makes about 4 cups)

What you’ll need:-

  • 2 green cardamon pods (add 2 more pods if you like it “spicier”)
  • 2 cups hot boiling water
  • 3 tbsps loose tea leaves (which were gifted from a friend from Sri Lanka) – See Note 1
  • 3 cups low fat milk
  • 3 -4 tbsps condensed milk (add more if you like it sweeter) – Note 2

Note 1 – Instead of loose tea leaves, you can add tea bags. I would add about 2 teabags per cup so for the portion above I would use 8 teabags. Remove the paper tags before putting them in the boiling water.

Note 2 – If you don’t have condensed milk, you can substitute with normal sugar to taste. However condensed milk will make the tea creamier.

Side Note – I like my chai to be less spicy as compared to the ones you might have tasted in Indian restaurants or on the street of India (I have asked my friend to compare my version with the chai in India). I find that when it is too spicy (some people add more cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks and ginger), I couldn’t taste the tea. Obviously this is a personal preference. :)


Crush the cardamon pods by carefully press the pods with the bottom of a container until exterior is cracked and you can see the cardamon seeds. In a small pot, add boiling hot water and cardamon pods. Let it simmer until you can smell the cardamon in the steam – See Note 3. Then add the loose tea leaves. Let it simmer over low heat until the liquid turns brownish amber – See Note 4. Add milk and boil over medium heat. Stir occassionally to reduce the milk from burning at the bottom.  When the milk tea start to bubble, stir in condense milk.  When the milk start to bubble fairly rigorously, turn off the heat. Place a tea strainer (or a mini sieve) and carefully use a ladle to transfer the tea from the pot to a mug. Serve immediately.

Note 3 – Caution: I don’t mean that you smell the steam directly and burn your nostrils. :P

Note 4 – Feel free to add more water if you think the mixture is drying up as you can always simmer a little longer if you think you’ve added too much water.


Spring Roll Noodle Salad

I used to order this salad from my favourite Vietnamese restaurant when I was still living in Hobart. When I started buying frozen spring rolls from the supermarket, I had in my mind that I want to recreate this salad.

Since it has been a while since I had it, the memory of this dish is a little fuzzy. I can remember the crunch from the spring rolls, the light and fresh of crunchy vegetables,  the mint leaves and a lot of noodles. Not to mention the savoury and tangy dressing that brings the salad to “life”!

Spring Roll Noodle Salad

For 2 people as entre, 1 as main dish

What you’ll need:-

  • A packet of 240g/8 ounces frozen vegetarian spring rolls – 6 spring rolls (used Crazy Dragon brand available in Woolworths)
  • 50g mung bean noodles (aka cellophane noodles)
  • Recently boiled water
  • 1/2 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 eshallot (you can use 1/2 of a fresh onion such as brown or red onion)
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves


  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • White sugar to taste
  • Fish sauce to taste
  • Vegetable oil (or other flavourless oil)


Bake spring rolls according to packet instructions – See Note 1. In the meantime, rehydrate and soften the mung bean noodles. Place the mung bean noodles in a bowl, then pour boiling water over it. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so until the noodles is soften. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Slice the carrot, cucumber, shallot and mint leaves. Set aside. To make the dressing, mix all the dressing ingredients together, season with fish sauce and suger to taste.

To serve: Toss some of the dressing with the noodles, garnish with the vegetables and spring rolls. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Note 1 – Alternatively, you can buy the spring rolls from your favourite takeaway store. Then reheat the spring rolls over low heat say, about 150 degrees C/302 degrees F to drain the oil a little as well as pad the reheated spring rolls gently with a kitchen towel.