You have probably heard about adding wine and even beer to certain dishes in order to bring out specific flavors and give your taste buds a more fulfilling dining experience. However, it’s not just beer and wine that can be used in foods.
An increasingly popular ingredient in a number of recipes is your one and only favorite hot beverage: tea. With its unique flavors and aroma, tea can turn a recipe into an exquisite dish that will make you feel you’re eating the food of the gods.
Firstly, you need to pay special attention when pairing up a tea with a meal and make sure that they do indeed complement each other. It can be a challenge to incorporate it into your favorite dishes, that’s why we have prepared a list of things to know before putting your chef’s hat on.
8 Tips for Using Tea as Food Ingredient
- There are several ways in which you can use tea as an ingredient in your food. The easiest way is by substituting the water or milk in your cooking with tea.
- When steam cooking, you can add tea leaves to the water or you can add powdered tea to your meal as you would add other condiments.
- For desserts, use brewed tea instead of water when melting butter or chocolate.
- When using tea as an ingredient, you should always take special care to pair your meal with the right kind of tea. The process is pretty much the same as if you were adding wine to your cooking. You need to select the right aroma to enhance the flavors in the meal.
- Use delicately flavored teas with light meals such as rice or chicken. Stronger, more aromatic teas can be used in dishes with a more dominant taste and abundance of various condiments.
- You can smoke or marinate meat using tea and tea leaves.
- Put tea leaves in the water, when cooking rice, fish or vegetables.
- The easiest way to start is to by following a few recipes before experimenting on your own.
There are hundreds of types of tea, each featuring a different aroma or flavor, but there are some general rules you should know before embarking on the journey of tea cooking. The following table will help you find the main tea varieties and help you choose the perfect one to use in you cooking.
Now to get you started, here are some mouthwatering recipes that include various teas as ingredients:
Rooibos Butternut “Pizzettas”
The sweet Rooibos flavor is the perfect complement to any squash. Make a generous batch of these because they are sure to get eaten up fast! They also make lovely appetizers when hosting a party, formal or informal functions.
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of Rooibos tea leaves
- 2 medium butternut pumpkins
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of fresh basil leaves
- Preheat your oven to 425°
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of tea. Remove from heat once it begins to foam. Cover and allow it to stand for 10 minutes.
- Strain the butter and discard anything caught in the sieve.
- Cut off the pumpkin at the neck. You will only need the unseeded portions of it.
- Use a knife to cut off the peel and trim the top of the butternut pumpkin.
- Cut into half inch thick slices.
- Oil your baking sheets lightly and place the sliced pumpkin on them. Leave space between each slice.
- Crush the left over tea leaves (if they aren’t already crushed fine) and mix with salt.
- Use a basting brush to spread the infused butter over the tops of the slices.
- Season with pepper and the Rooibos tea / salt mixture.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until soft.
- Place on a platter and garnish with basil.
Dashi is a type of Japanese soup stock and has a number of uses in the kitchen. You can use it as a soup base, to deglaze pans and even to cook your rice. When making rice, use half the regular amount of water and fill in with an equal amount of dashi.
- 2 tablespoons of dried tomatoes
- 1/2 ounce of dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons of honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of aka (red) miso
- 1 tablespoon of Darjeeling tea leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce and honey with 1 quart of water.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and wisk in the miso, tea leaves and salt.
- Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes.
- Use a fine-mesh colander to strain the mixture.
- Save the mushrooms for use in other dishes or in the dashi itself when served as a soup.
- Allow it to cool and use immediately or store in a glass jar for up to 1 week.
Jasmine Tea Rice
This is a wonderful recipe that you can use to include the spicy pleasures of jasmine tea. Jasmine tea rice makes a fantastic side dish and can be served with a variety of meals.
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of Jasmine green tea
- 1 1/2 cups of jasmine white rice
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Place the tea in a heat resistant bowl and cover with the hot water.
- Allow the Tea to steep for 5 minutes and strain into a saucepan through a sieve.
- Allow the tea to cool.
- Rinse the rice with cold water until the water is clear (not milky or cloudy).
- Add the rice to the tea and add the salt.
- Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
- Place the saucepan over a medium-high heat and cover.
- Bring it to a boil and reduce to simmer for approximately 17 minutes.
- Allow to stand for 5 minutes after cooking before you serve.
Your kitchen awaits! Put on that apron and start brewing. Your family is going to think you have started cooking classes and they will certainly ask for seconds!
Written by RiverTea - a community of tea lovers, with a life mission to accompany you on your journey to discovering the flavourful universe of teas.