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Tea – More Than Just A Beverage!

So far, we have written a lot on benefits and love for tea as a beverage, But limiting tea’s potential to only drinking would be undermining its power. You’d be surprised to know, how adding tea to your food can enhance the flavour of foods, making a meal truly memorable.

The many varieties of tea, whether green, white or black, earthy or spicy, contribute subtle aromas and delicate flavours to many wonderful but not necessarily complicated dishes. You can also use brewed tea in place of water in many recipes. Using tea leaves directly while cooking is another way to add flavour to your dishes.

Many teas can serve as a dessert on their own, or as an after–dinner digestif. The addition of natural essences and flavors to food and drinks create an exciting sensual and gastronomic experience. The flavours of regional teas evolved with local cuisine. Cooking with tea is an exploration into the world of new flavors and aromas. Tea’s subtle and enhancing flavoring, very complimentary to most ingredients it’s added to. It’s indeed hard to mistake the recipe with tea!

It is important though to be careful of certain things before you attempt at making food items with tea. Always choose the tea you like, smells good and appeals your taste as well as the food you are preparing it with. Avoid ‘trying out’ a flavour and most definitely don’t choose a variety of tea that you would not want to drink. Each tea provides unique flavour to the blend and it is important to consider this before choosing the right tea for your recipe. Here’s an assortment of our favorite tea-loving ideas and recipes:

GREEN TEA AND TAMARIND-MARINATED TOFU WITH VEGETABLES 

This fragrant, colorful dish combines marinated tofu with a variety of vegetables. A subtle, sweet and tangy mixture of green tea, tamarind sauce and rice vinegar comprises the marinade. Green tea leaves are grinded and added to spices and herbs to use it as a rub for tofu. 

JASMINE TEA RICE 

Devoured for its special fragrance and taste, Jasmine rice can taste even better with green tea. Simply replace the plain water with brewed tea water to boil the rice. Lightly toasting the rice in a dry pan brings out its nutty flavors.This adds delicate, floral flavour to your dish. The rice serves as a great accompaniment to any stir-fry dish.

WHITE TEA POACHED SALMON

The Asian way of cooking includes poaching salmon in green tea. Try our suggested variation by poaching the fish in mild white tea. The poaching liquid can be used in making a delicately flavored sauce to complement the richness of salmon fish.

GREEN TEA-MARINATED SIRLOIN TIPS

A simple green tea marinade adds a subtle Asian flavor to sautéed sirloin tips. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables.

Tea-Smoked Chicken

Tea smoked chicken tastes delicious what the chicken thighs are smoked in a steamer basket placed over a wok containing a mixture of white rice, Chinese black tea and brown sugar.

SWEET TEA BRINED FRIED CHICKEN

When the chicken pieces are brined in sweet lemony tea and get dredged in buttermilk and flour before being deep-fried they make up for a heavenly taste for your palate. Serve with freshly baked biscones.

SMOKED TEA DUCK

There’s nothing like authentic tea-smoked duck, but the smoking process can overwhelm many home kitchens. Enter “smoked tea duck”—using lapsang souchong tea and uncooked rice to make a smoky, crispy crust for duck breast, which is then pan-fried in its own fat.

JASMINE CHICKEN SOUP WITH GREEN TEA SOBA

Cooking a delicious chicken soup with green tea is a healthy option for one who loves soups. Feel free to use other vegetables and herbs to get the perfect taste. And if you have extra broth, simmer more vegetables in it the next day for a nearly instant soup.

DESSERTS

Now, let’s come to our most favourite part of any meal – DESSERTS. Yes, they are true to say that the opposite of stressed is – desserts. Any of us can never say a no to desserts. But, did you ever wonder that we could also extend our love for tea till desserts. Well, here is what we have for you – enjoy!

GINGER AND JASMINE TEA POACHED PEARS

This simple yet delicious serving can make up for a healthy desserts craving. Poaching pears in jasmine green tea creates a fragrant and delicious dessert treat. Serve with yummy gingersnap cookies on the side.

EARL GREY SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Bergamot oil, extracted from the fragrant skin of the sour bergamot fruit, gives Earl Grey tea its unique flavor. These slightly crisp, flaky cookies are the perfect accompaniment to cups of hot tea or cocoa.

Quick tips on using tea otherwise:-

  1. You can add a favorite tea bag to melted butter, warmed oil or ghee. Cover and steep for several minutes before removing the tea. It becomes a delicious addition for soups, stews, fish and vegetables.
  2. Are you fond of spinach or chard? Then let us tell you that green tea is quite similar in flavour. Go ahead, add the leaves to vegetables while cooking or, once brewed, chop and add them to salads. You can also add it to eggs before scrambling or making an omelet.
  3. You can add minced or finely chopped tea leaves to flour and bread crumbs. They can also be used as coating for meats and vegetables.
  4. Brewed tea leaves also make a great plant food. Use them to feed your compost pile. You can even water your plants with leftover brewed tea.

Of course, there are many more ways in which we can or have been using tea, especially in India. If you have some recipes that we have not mentioned here and would like to share with us, please write to us. If you have other uses of teas that you know of, we would like to feature it on our blog. After all, it is our beverage for ages now.  We would love to read it and if possible feature them on our blogs too. Let us know in our comments section 🙂

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1 Comment

  1. Sathish Babu Rajanahalli says: Reply

    Wonderful information on using tea to use as food flavor

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