Tea might be the second most-consumed beverage in the world, but we overlook the potential of these fragrant leaves when it comes to cooking. Each different kind of tea provides a unique flavor profile and personality that can add a touch of exotic essence to familiar flavors of your favorite dinners and desserts.
Its distinctive flavors—woodsy and vegetal or ripe and sweet, pleasantly astringent or perfumed—add layers to sweet and savory dishes that no other ingredient can touch. A pinch of tea leaves can do so much more than you’d have ever imagined.
Here are 5 recipes of dishes reinvented with your favourite teas. So bring alive your inner Masterchef and get started!!
1-EARL GREY TEA-SMOKED SALMON
If you love salmon, try this recipe of smoking it at home with earl grey tea. But make sure your kitchen is well ventilated! You may even replace the salmon with black cod fish or basically apply the same principle with duck, chicken wings, quail, turkey, even pork loin.
For the Salad
- 250 g cooked beetroot, chopped
- 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
- 2 x 400g tins lentils, drained
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- bunch fresh parsley, chopped
For the Salmon
- 100 g dried rice
- 100 g granulated sugar
- handful Earl Grey tea leaves
- 4 salmon fillets, skin-on
- 2 tsp oil
- In a medium bowl mix all the salad ingredients together. Set aside.
- Line a large roasting tin with foil. Add rice, sugar and tea leaves and stir together. Set a wire rack over the rice mixture.
- Brush salmon fillets with oil and lay skin-side down on the rack. Cover tin with a tent of foil (not touching fish), crimping edges to seal. Cook over medium-high hob heat for 8min.
- Remove tin from heat and set aside for 5min to infuse. Carefully remove foil – there will be smoke! Flake salmon (leaving skin on) into salad, serve and enjoy!
2-BLACK TEA ICE CREAM
This is for all those lovers of black tea, who will love it even more after having it in this rich and delicious ice cream form.
- 2 cups milk
- 11/4 Cups Cream
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- ¼ Cup Black Loose Tea Leaves
- 5 Egg Yolks
- ½ Cup Sugar
- Medium Saucepan
- Medium Heat/Cold Proof Bowl
- Large Strainer
- Plastic Wrap
- Ice Cream Maker
- Combine milk & cream
- Cut vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape vanilla seeds out. Place in milk/cream mixture.
- Pour black tea in mix and heat to a simmer, then remove from heat. Cover and steep for 5-8 minutes.
- Combine egg yolks & sugar. Beat egg yolks & sugar until light yellow.
- Strain brewed tea mix into a medium bowl.
- Pour a cup of the tea mix into the yolk/sugar mix to temper it. Stir until combined.
- Cook tea/yolk mix on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until thickened and the custard coats the back of a spoon.
- Pour in remaining tea mix and stir.
- Place in a heat/cold proof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
- Place custard in refrigerator 4-6 hours or overnight.
- Pour cold custard in ice cream maker. Proceed as directed by your ice cream maker manual. Serve immediately or place in a container in the freezer.
3-GREEN TEA FLAVOURED CREPE CAKE
If you like tea and you want to have a light, fresh dessert, then this crepe cake is perfect for you. Cooking it requires some technique but it’s certainly worth the hardwork.
- 3 medium eggs – 60 gr each including eggshell – room temperature.
- 470 ml (2 cups minus 2 tsp) unsweetened milk – room temperature
- 40 g (3 tbsp + 1 tsp) unsalted butter – melted and kept warm
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract – optional
- 170 g (1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 10 g (5 tsp) unsweetened matcha powder.
- 40 g (3 Tbsp minus 1 tsp) caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks (18 – 20 gram/ yolk) – room temperature
- 75 g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
- 30 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 300 ml (1-¼ cups) milk – warm
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract – optional
- 3 gelatine leaves (6 grams – or replaced with gelatine powder in equal amount)
- 50 ml (3 tbsp) cool water to soften gelatine
- 300 ml (1-¼ cups) whipping cream (30 – 40% fat) – cold
- 20 g (4 tsp) caster sugar
- Gently beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the milk (room temp) and mix well with the eggs. Add melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk.
- Shift the flour, matcha (green tea) powder and sugar into a bowl and stir well.
- Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in small portions, and mix well until incorporated.
- Pour the batter through a sieve to get rid of any lumps. The batter should be quite runny. Cover the bowl and place it into the fridge for about 20 – 30 minutes.
- Place the pan over low – medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan and use a clean paper towel to remove all the excess butter.
- Pour about 3 tbsp. (40 – 45 ml) of the batter into the pan. Swirl the pan several times so that the batter spreads evenly on the surface. Fry for about 1 – 1.5 minutes until the edge of the crepe turns dry and golden brown, and no longer sticks to the pan.
- Flip the crepe and fry for about 45 – 60 seconds until it is cooked. Transfer onto a rack and leave to cool.
- Repeat until the batter is finished. Let the crepes cool down. Trim off the edges of the crepes by running a knife around the edge of an upside-down bowl so that all the crepes are even in size.
Custard Filling (To be prepared when you are waiting for the crepes to cool down)
- Place the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl, and beat until the yolks turn light yellow with a smooth and fluffy texture.
- Shift the flour into the bowl and mix well. Add warm milk gradually in small portions, mix well until incorporated before adding the next portion. Add vanilla, mix well. Run the mixture through a sieve and pour it into a saucepan.
- On medium heat, stir the mixture constantly while cooking to prevent the eggs from getting scrambled. Once you get a thick and shiny mixture that is free from any raw flour taste, take the saucepan off the heat.
- Transfer the custard into a bowl. Whisk the custard for about 1 – 3 mins to help remove any lumps and make the custard smoother, as well as cool it down.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent any skin from forming. Place the bowl into the fridge for 30 – 40 minutes until completely cool.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in cool water for 10 – 15 mins to let them soften. Microwave the gelatine for 20 – 30 seconds until it’s melted completely.
- Whip thecold whipping cream with 20 grams sugar on high speed. Slowly pour in the gelatine into the bowl. When the cream turns thicker, lower the speed and whip cream until stiff peaks. Do not beat at high speed for a long time as the cream will get curdled easily.
- Take the custard out of the fridge. Add the whipped cream into the custard in portions and fold well in between. The cream filling should be relatively thick and smooth.
Assemble the Cake
- Place a crepe onto your cake board or serving plate. Line some papers under the crepe to keep the board clean while you decorate the cake.
- Spread the filling onto the crepe, and then place another crepe on top. Repeat until the last crepe.
- Then chill the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours until the filling is set completely.
- Just before serving, you may dust some matcha powder onto the cake surface to decorate. The cake can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
4-AVOCADO AND LIME GREEN TEA SMOOTHIE
This green tea flavoured smoothie packs a mean nutritional punch – full of healthy fats from the avocado which help to absorb all the other nutrients in the smoothie. The smoothie also contains a lot of ingredients that are fantastic to include in your diet when cleansing and also help strengthen the immune system to help fight off disease and infection.
- Flesh from 1 avocado
- 2 sweet apples, cored and roughly chopped
- ½ small zucchini, roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1 small knob peeled ginger
- Roughly ¼ cup loosely packed parsley
- ½ juiced lime
- 2 leaves kale
- 1 cup brewed + cooled green tea
- ⅔ cup almond milk (or water)
- 2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered food processor and blend until smooth and combined.
- Pour into two jars and stir a teaspoon of chia seeds through each. Allow to sit at least half an hour (though overnight is best) before consuming.
5-SPICED ORANGE TEA OATMEAL WITH CANDIED WALNUTS
Spiced quick-cooking steel-cut oatmeal flavored with black tea and orange zest, topped with homemade candied walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Enough said!
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (60g) walnut halves
- 1 cup brewed black tea
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ cup quick-cooking steel-cut oats
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 orange, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Orange segments
- Maple syrup
- Oatmeal: In a saucepan, bring the black tea and almond milk to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium. Add the quick-cooking steel-cut oats and salt, and stir well.
- Bake for 9 – 12 minutes, or until the walnuts are golden brown. Once completely cooled, store the candied walnuts in an airtight container.
- Candied Walnuts: Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Add the walnuts, and stir gently until well combined.
- Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange zest and chopped orange.
- Cook the oatmeal for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the oats have absorbed the liquid and become creamy. Add the vanilla extract.
- Divide the oatmeal between two bowls. Top each bowl with a few orange segments, candied walnuts, and plenty of maple syrup.