Teh Tarik Panna Cotta with Ginger Foam and Pandan Kaya Macarons – Recipe

Achievement unlocked: molecular gastronomy.

I know catchy title, huh? But it is what it is. Someone from my K-Pop dance group (yep, follow my other blog for life stuff) mentioned his sister trying a teh tarik panna cotta with ginger foam somewhere.

Challenge accepted.

Teh tarik, for the uninitiated, is a frothy sweet tea enriched with condensed milk that's really popular in Malaysia. The froth comes from the 'pulling' process the tea is named after (it's literally translated as 'tea pulled'): traditionally the tea is poured from one jug to another with outstretched arms, so the height aerates the tea as it pours from A to B. To make it at home, you can use any regular black tea you like, as long as it's nice and strong.

Now onto the culinary foam. At first I was a bit sceptical about its value: I mean it's just mostly air, right? Well it DOES make all the difference. The teh tarik panna cotta is creamy and malty and wonderful by itself, but the zinginess of the ginger syrup bubbles lifts the whole thing up. Approved.

Culinary foam sounds super fancy and I felt like Heston Blumenthal while making it, but making foam is almost laughably easy. Choose a liquid (not too thick), add a bit of soya lecithin (found in health food stores), whizz with a hand blender or electric whisk and... instant foam!

This stuff is usually sold in granules. That's fine, but if you have a food processor, I'd recommend running the granules through it to make a fine powder, which is much easier to dissolve. If not, you'll just need to mix for a bit longer.

The foam will last for long enough for you to get it to the table (maybe 10-15 minutes?) Because I was faffing around with photography angles and lighting the foam on top of my 'model' did begin to go flat, but this was after about half an hour of sitting and not being eaten. Since the foam is the very last thing to go on the panna cottas before serving, this shouldn't be a problem.

Bubbles after 30mins of sitting

As for the pandan macarons... I've really done macarons to death, recently. To make the macaron shells themselves, see my recipe for lemon lingonberry macarons and simply replace the pink food colouring with pandan paste. When they're cooled, sandwich them with kaya spread.

Kaya is a sweet, rich coconut milk jam. Really it's more like coconut curd as it's enriched with eggs. Long story short, if you like things like Nutella and Biscoff spread and you like coconut, you'll LOVE kaya.

Golden coconutty custardy goodness
Let's go!

Serves 6

Ingredients for Panna Cotta:

-300ml double cream
-300ml water (remove 3tbsp for blooming the gelatin)
-200ml condensed milk
-6 teabags (any strong black tea)
-3tsp gelatin, soaked in the above 3tbsp reserved water

Ingredients for Ginger Foam:

-100ml water
-100ml sugar
-juice of 3cm cube of ginger (finely grate and squeeze through a tea strainer)
-Extra 100ml water
-3tsp soya lecithin


1) First make the panna cotta: place the water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and pop in the teabags to brew

2) Once you have a really, really strong tea, add the double cream (I still leave the teabags in at this point to make the mixture as strong as possible: no point in making this if you can't taste the tea!)

3) When it's as strong as you dare, remove and discard the teabags and add the condensed milk. Stir until dissolved, and bring just about to the boil again.

4) Turn off the heat and add your bloomed gelatin, stirring until fully dissolved

5) Pour into six small glasses, let cool to room temperature and pop in the fridge to set for at least four hours

6) While the panna cottas are setting, make a simple ginger syrup: put the first 100ml of water, sugar and ginger juice into a small pan, heat to dissolve, and bring to a steady boil for three minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool completely

7) Just before the panna cottas are ready to serve, place your syrup in a bowl and add the second lot of water and the soya lecithin. Using a hand blender or electric whisk, whizz everything together: this will both dissolve the soya lecithin and create the foam. Every so often scoop the top layer of foam into a separate glass, and continue to whizz

8) Spoon the foam onto your panna cottas and serve however you like (macarons with molecular gastronomy are the perfect way to show off your mad skillz)



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