As we are apparently approaching summer, it is in the spirit of optimism that I give you this recipe for a classic Thai iced drink,cha yen.Cha yen is a rich, sweet, fragrant drink served at Thai restaurants worldwide. Full of sugar and an alarming shade of orange in almost all its forms, cha yen’s sole reason for existence is your enjoyment.
You need made-for-the-purpose Thai tea, easily found at an Asian supermarket. No other tea will already be infused with that delicately smoky vanilla and anise scent that makes this drink so special.
The recipe below works best with either a teapot or a French press. For the former, you can pour the brewed tea through any sort of fine strainer; I improvised with a paper-towel lined sieve. Be warned: the tea will stain anything it touches a sensational orange – it probably isn’t natural, and adding milk from tins probably doesn’t help the overall impression. However, I feel that distinct unwholesomeness is part of the charm. Enjoy!
I'm a self-conscious dilettante with a degree in History of Art from SOAS and UCL. I've lived in Greater London all my life, interrupted only occasionally by brief trips to Thailand. The result is that I speak Thai with a Croydon accent (and sometimes Croydon with a posh accent, but that's another story).
Far from being a charming bilingual intellectual of the world who ably holds forth on every topic imaginable at dinner parties, most of what I actually say in either language is "Hello", "That's a nice painting", and "I'm hungry". My idea of a balanced diet is a bowl of Mama instant noodles in one hand and a chip buttie in the other, but I also don't mind a nice bit of duck confit or gaeng paa gai. I don't go to dinner parties, anyway.
I like looking at interesting things. Thai contemporary art, Early Modern English portraiture, and lowbrow art have so far held my attention.
I consume vast amounts of art and food, so I thought I would give something back by writing.