While drinking tea remains the most popular way to enjoy this beverage, there are other ways to enjoy it. Cooking with tea presents a fantastic opportunity to savour both unique flavours and textures in both savoury and sweet dishes. Incorporating tea into recipes can enhance their overall taste and bring a harmonious balance to the flavours. Infusing recipes with tea can involve using steeped tea or even directly incorporating the tea leaves into the mix. Cooking with tea need not be complex, and it extends beyond merely blending tea into smoothie recipes. These 5 recommendations are a great way to start using your favourite tea as an ingredient in recipes. They may be simple but one small adjustment can pack more flavour than ever!
1. Replace other liquids like water or broth with brewed tea.
When a recipe calls for liquids like water, broth or even milk, reach for your tea cupboard! Cook your oatmeal, grains, soup, etc. in a flavourful pot of tea instead of water or broth. Poach fruit, fish, eggs, etc. in a pot of tea. Simply replace the amount of liquid that is required with steeped tea. If the recipe is calling for milk, try cold steeping tea in milk before adding it in.
2. Infuse butter and oil with tea.
Some sort of fat like butter and oil is often found in recipes whether it’s for a meal or a baked good. Making tea infused butter or tea infused oil is an easy way to add tea to your recipe without too much effort.
To make your own tea infused butter/oil: melt butter or heat oil in a pot, add tea leaves and let it steep for 5 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes. Then, strain the tea leaves and allow the butter/oil return to room temperature before using it in a recipe.
3. Flavour dishes with tea salt.
This tea infused seasoning is easy to just sprinkle into dishes and can be made with a variety of teas. Add tea salt to anything you would normally add regular salt to and you’ll be greeted with unique flavours. Sprinkle on eggs, stir in salad dressing, toss on beans, fries, popcorn, etc.
4. Rub/marinade ingredients with tea.
Grind up tea leaves and add them to some herbs and spices to create a tea infused rub for veggies, meats, poultry, fish, tofu and tempeh. Alternatively, you can use steeped tea as a brine to marinate those items for a few hours to lock in moisture and create new flavours for the grill.
5. Eat the leaves!
In many cases, you can actually eat spent tea leaves. But, not what you would find in a commercial tea bag. I’m talking about whole leaves here! Eating some tea leaves is similar to cooked vegetables. After steeping the leaves, top a salad with them, add them to rice, or mix them in a soup!