Last Updated: August 27, 2020
The moment I posted an Instagram story of this dish, DMs came flooding in. “Fel! You really made the carbonara with milk tea?”, “How does it taste?”, “Nice a not?” These were the questions most of my friends asked.
I replied, “Wait for my article”, and left them hanging.
To those of you who are curious, this is for you. While most of us are busy doubting Mohd Asri Atan’s infamous Carbonara Teh Tarik Kurang Manis, my editor dropped me a WhatsApp which read, “I came across this. Wondering if you wanna try to recreate it as a shortform next week?”
Fast-forward a week later and here I am, belly-filled, typing this whilst smiling to myself. I’ve just devoured an entire plate of Carbonara Teh Tarik and I’m glad that my tummy isn’t showing any signs of queasiness.
Just this morning, my husband scorned when I told him what was for lunch. “Teh tarik spaghetti.” “Seriously?” was his exact mono-syllabic reaction, as he looked at me in disdain. Like everyone else, I had my doubts when I first saw the recipe video on Mohd Asri Atan’s Instagram.
Apart from being amazed by how fast he was reciting the entire recipe, I was more intrigued by how the spaghetti tasted. Milk tea together with instant carbonara sauce is indeed an unorthodox combination, however considering that the teh tarik was used as a replacement for milk and cream, it somehow felt viable.
Since there were no exact measurements specified in the video, I set myself on a quest to find the exact amount of ingredients used for an edible and perfectly balanced plate of Carbonara Teh Tarik. This is how things went down.
Preparation time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 25 – 30 minutes
Step 1: Prepare your vegetables and meats. Feel free to substitute them for any similar ingredients of your liking.
Step 2: In a pot of boiling water, cook the spaghetti with a pinch of salt. Drain spaghetti after it is cooked and set aside.
Step 3: Prepare tea mixture by dissolving 2 packets of BOH 3-in-1 Milk Tea in 200ml of hot water. Set aside.
Step 4: In a heated wok, fry minced garlic and onions till fragrant.
Step 5: Add in sausage and ham. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 6: Add vegetables and season with pepper. Continue frying till capsicum and mushrooms are soft.
Step 7: Stir in carbonara sauce along with 4 ladles of milk tea. Stir the mixture and allow it to come to a boil. Taste the sauce. If it is too sweet, you can add 1 more tablespoon of carbonara sauce.
Step 8: Add spaghetti and cheese. Stir the spaghetti to ensure that the cheese completely melts into the sauce.
Step 9: Sprinkle fresh parsley upon serving.
As I was cooking, I was constantly tasting the sauce along the way. At first, I was afraid that the spaghetti might turn out too sweet as I failed to get my hands on the less sweet version of the instant milk tea.
Thankfully, the flavours balanced out after the carbonara sauce was introduced. The addition of the cheese also enhanced the creaminess and savoriness of the dish, further erasing any signs of overpowering sweetness. Exactly like what Mohd Asri Atan mentioned in his post, the milk tea indeed blended well with the rest of the ingredients.
Unlike any other carbonara dishes I’ve eaten, the Carbonara Teh Tarik left a tinge of caramelised fragrance tingling at the back of my throat. It was subtle, so subtle that I realised it only after wiping my plate clean.
If there was one thing I’ve learnt from this cooking process, it was to not be afraid of using unconventional ingredients. Many of us are immediately repulsed by the word ‘teh tarik’ alongside ‘spaghetti’, but in this case, the milk tea only played a supporting role. It did not drastically change the entire dish, in fact, it added that unexpected fragrance that I would never have tasted in a normal plate of pasta.
Try it for yourself! I guarantee you this recipe will not lead you to the washroom anytime after consuming it. I’m a living example of a person who finished an entire plate of Carbonara Teh Tarik done right.
Expected Damage: S$3 – S$4 per serving