Tea provides a simple way to infuse a variety of exotic flavours to your everyday dishes. Try adding tea in your favourite recipe for an exciting taste sensation.
Drinking tea isn't the only way to enjoy the taste and health benefits of one of world's oldest beverages, you can cook with it. Tea provides a simple way to infuse a variety of exotic flavours to your everyday dishes. Try adding tea in your favourite recipe for an exciting taste sensation.
According to a popular folklore, tea was discovered some 5,000 years ago when some leaves accidentally ended up Emperor Shennong's boiling water. The legendary emperor of China loved the taste and people have been drinking and cooking with tea ever since.
Tea is made from steeping leaves, buds or twigs from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. There are four basic types of tea: white, green, oolong and black. White tea is the least processed tea (not oxidized) with the least amount of caffeine. Black tea, world's most popular, is completely oxidized and has the strongest flavour and the most caffeine.
Herbal teas refer to a combination of herbs, fruits and flowers such as rosehip, chamomile or rosehip. Since it doesn't contain Camellia sinensis, it's technically not true tea but an infusion or tisane.
The easiest way to brew tea for cooking is to use room-temperature filtered water. Let the tea brew naturally for 20 to 30 minutes. If you're pressed for time, you can infuse your tea in hot, not boiling, water for no more than five minutes. Avoid using left-over tea from your morning cup because the strong flavour will overpower your dish.
Remember the longer your tea stews, the higher the astringency and bitterness. A general rule of thumb for brewing: 2 minutes for greens, 5 minutes for black teas, 7 minutes for oolongs and up to 12 minutes for white teas.
Pour left over prepared tea into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can mix different teas together in the same container for a customized blend.
Tea Bag vs. Loose Tea
In general, loose tea is preferred to tea bags. Most of the tea that goes into bags is not high quality. But tea bags work just as well in cooking, so it's a matter of preference and convenience.
Cooking with Tea
1. Savoury ideas
You can use brewed tea as a braising liquid, a seasoning for marinades or a base for sauces.
Cook rice or other grains using prepared tea in place of water or stock for delicate tea flavours. Crush aromatic loose green tea such as Sencha or Jasmine with a mortar and pestle to mix with cooked rice.
Try topping a salad with mint tea leaves for added flavour and crunch. Add a few tablespoons of brewed green tea to your favorite salad dressing.
Perk up gravies, soups and stews by adding strong black tea. Add a tablespoon to gravy or 1/2 cup to a pot of stew or chili. Substitute brewed green or oolong tea for water when poaching chicken or shrimp. Combine loose tea with your favorite spice mixture and ground into a powder to make a hearty tea rub for meats and poultry.
2. Sweet ideas
Create a refreshing tea sorbet using Jasmine, Masala Chai or Moroccan Mint.
Mix one tablespoon of ground loose tea into your favorite cookie or shortbread recipe.
Kick up a basic whipped cream with a tablespoon of your favourite loose tea.
Enhance your favorite truffle recipe by infusing loose tea in cream. Instead of rolling truffles in cocoa, try rolling them in a mixture of powdered green tea and sugar.
Melt butter with tea leaves to add an infusion of tea in your favourite cake or shortbread recipe. After a few minutes, remove the leaves and chill the butter to firm. Proceed with your favourite baking recipe or simply spread on a slice of fresh bread and enjoy.
Try it today:
* Tea-Flavour Chicken Walnut Soup
* Marbled Tea Eggs
* Black Tea Braised Short Ribs
* Salmon Cured with Asian Black Teas
* Tea-Basted Roast Cornish Hen
* Twice Cooked Duck with Green Tea
* Green Tea Crusted Toro Tuna, Pickled Nashi Pears and Pressed Sushi Terrine
* Earl Grey Tea Loaf with Scented Melon and Pineapple
* Green Tea Ice Cream
* Green Tea Creme Brulee
* Jasmine Tea Pudding
* Tea Loaf
* Chai Poached Pears Stuffed With Ginger Mascarpone