Did you know that tea can add a subtle floral, smoky and even spicy element to your foods? The most exciting part is, you can use them when cooking different ways.
So the next time you try a new tea, you will be be thinking outside the teacup and see what you are going to cook with it. It’s time to treat these aromatic leaves like spices that will bring new worlds of flavor to your cooking.
How to Cook with Tea:
1. Infusing with Other Liquids
This method of using tea, allows you to add tea flavors to soups, ice creams and ganache. You can also add juice and vinegar.
For hot liquid:
– Scald cream as shown in the recipe.
– Add the tea leaves and let steep. Strain when infusion reaches required strength. Use this method for the following:
- Add chamomile tea to a potato soup.
- Adding Earl Grey to a chocolate ganache.
- Making chai or green tea ice cream.
For Cold liquid:
– Put the tea leaves to the liquid. Let sit, until it reach the desired strength. This can be used to infuse alcohol or vinegar.
- Use tea vinaigrette for your salads.
- Use a tea-infused sugar syrup to add over fresh fruit.
2. Infusing in Water
Tea can add flavor when combine to cooking water for pasta or rice.
How to: You have to boil the water, then remove from heat. Add the tea and steep for the usual amount of time. Remove the tea. Then you can cook pasta or rice using this water.
- Cook pasta in a fennel tea infusion
- Cook rice with a green tea infusion
- Boil shrimp in oolong tea infusion
3. Brining, Curing and Pickling
Tea concentrate or whole leaves can be added to pickling and brining liquids. You can also make gravlax by curing salmon with a combination of sugar, salt and tea leaves.
To use tea as a marinade, steep the tea in water, as you would in making a cup of tea to drink but add more leaves. You can add other flavorings, aromatics and oils.
You can use it as a marinate for meat and other poultry. Other options can include the following:
- Pork and lamb chops marinaded in black tea with vegetable oil and lemon.
- Chicken marinaded using black tea, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.
5. As Oil
Tea oil is has been making its way into Western Cuisine. It is made from the seeds of the tea plant.
This can be use as to saute and as base to salad dressing. It can be an alternative to canola and vegetable oils.
6. As Spice
To use as spice, grind tea leaves in a pepper mill and combine with pepper. You can use Oolong tea, earl grey, genmaicha or whatever is your preference. This is a perfect rub for steaks and pork.
7. As Aromatic
Cooking also involves the retro-nasal aromatics, the flavor you get in the cavity of your nasal passage. This is considered to be the true flavor that always come through in the food you cook and must be complemented.
Tea is considered to be the perfect complement to many flavors because it is filled with subtle but rich in taste as well. A good touch of Jasmine tea to a rice dish will add many different levels of flavor and smell to any dish.