Frothy Bittersweet Pulled Tea

Teh Tarik


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 cups

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

The Mamak community of Malaysia and Singapore, descendants of Indian and Malay marriages, have invented a hot beverage commonly called “pulled tea.” An ultra-strong brewed Orange Pekoe black tea, sweet from condensed milk, is dramatically tossed from one oversized stainless steel mug, to another in a long thin stream. This aerial agitation creates a nose-tickling foam on the sweet beverage, similar to the froth on a cup of cappuccino.

During this theatrical preparation the tea is not only poured from one vessel to another, but the mugs are pulled apart, creating a thin “thread” that connects the two vessels; hence the name: “pulled tea.” Mamak are known for running excellent kopitiam (coffee houses) where they serve this sweetened tea along with foods such as roti canai/paratha flatbread or lentil fritters.

Teh Halia Tarik is pulled ginger tea. To make it, just add one teaspoon of grated ginger to the tea leaves with each cup of tea you brew.


  • 4 cups Water, boiling
  • ¼ cup Orange Pekoe Tea (1 tablespoon per cup), preferably Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
  • 6 Tbsp. Sweetened condensed milk ( tablespoons per cup), to taste


  1. In a teapot or other non-reactive container, pour boiling water over tea leaves. Steep 10 minutes (this makes a wickedly strong brew).
  2. Strain tea into a large vessel with an easy-to-grip handle (such as a large measuring cup) containing the sweetened condensed milk.
  3. “Pull” the tea by pouring it back and forth into another container in a long stream to generate froth. The longer the stream, the frothier the brew (at least 12 inches / 30 c.) Take your time and be careful, splatters from this can burn.
  4. Serve the frothy tea quickly, before it deflates.