Teh C (Tea with Evaporated Milk)
As an avid tea lover, one of my favourite tea is Teh-C (Teh Si), or hot tea with evaporated milk. “Teh” is local word for tea, while “C” refers to the evaporated milk added to the beverage. This is a tea originating from and popular in Singapore and Malaysia. A nicely brewed cup of Teh C is not easy to find, and I found a good one in Bedok. I experimented to make my own home-brewed Teh C recipe to satisfy my caffeine craving :)
What does the C in Teh-C mean? I think the most plausible & simplest explanation for the “C” in Teh-C is the “Carnation” brand of evaporated milk added to the tea, a popular brand of evaporated milk back in the earlier days. Another belief is that the “C” refers to the Chinese word for “稀” (sounds like C) which means less thick compared to the condensed milk added in Teh (Source: HWZ). A more obscure theory was that it was the Hainanese way of pronouncing evaporated milk in their dialect (C for xian “鲜” which means fresh). Back then, evaporated milk was the freshest milk readily available (Source: Yahoo!).
Ingredient 1: Tea leaves (tea dust) I am using Lipton international blend, it’s very common and cheap, available at all supermarkets. You can use your favourite black tea leaves, they should be very affordable (less than $3 for a small packet). This is a peasant, everyday drink so there is really no need to spurge on expensive tea. P.S. you can also use lipton tea bags as a short-cut (but that will not be as authentic).
Ingredient 3: Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar) I use granulated gula melaka (also used in my homemade sambal chilli) instead of white sugar. Like full cream evaporated milk, the taste is much better. Of course, you can substitute white sugar, but the taste is certainly not as aromatic.
Step 1 Measure the tea leaves and add into a disposable tea pouch (you can get a pack of 100s at Daiso for $2). As the tea dust is very fine, it is recommended to double bag it. You can also use a mug with a traditional coffee cloth strainer (filter twice), but I find them a hassle to clean.
Step 4 Pour the hot brewed tea until about 3/4 full. You can stir to dissolve the sugar now, or stir it only during drinking, so that you can control the sweetness as you are drinking.
Step 5 Add evaporated milk. Enjoy your Teh C :)
- “Siu Dai” (less sugar): Add 1 tsp less sugar per cup.
- “KoSong” (“zero” sugar): Omit the sugar.
- “Gao” (thick): Seep the tea leaves for a few minutes longer to get a richer taste, or use more tea leaves.
- “Po” (thin): Add less brewed tea, add hot water to dilute the tea.
- “Peng” (iced): chill or add ice cubes.