5 Awesome ways to include tea in your cooking

In a day and age where there is an abundance of spices and herbs for ingredients - what makes tea a special ingredient is its ability to dignify food. Tea, like most spices adds a sensorial aspect to food. Yet, unlike other spices, there are different types and flavours of tea which can enhance flavour and texture of food. Tea has an unbelievable functional aspect for consumers as it helps to emulsify fats and helps body functionality, especially in digestion. This is a herb that has a natural synergy with food. So the possibilities of tea and cooking are endless! To get started, here are 4 ways you can include tea in your cooking.

Cooking Tea

Planning to use it as an ingredient? Here are some tips: Treat it tenderly – tea can burn easily, especially when used as a smoking agent. Use it judiciously as its flavour contribution can be potent, just like many herbs. Hence, tea should add new flavour, and not overwhelm the dish. Prepare tea parsimoniously since over-brewing can bring out many bitter polyphenols.

Tea to add Depth in Food.

Tea can be used as rub, marinade, smoking ingredient or added directly to the cooking pot to impart dimension, depth and subtlety to familiar dishes. Many chefs claim that tea’s tannins help to tenderise meats in a manner similar to red wine. The Chinese have used black tea to flavour and colour hard boiled eggs, or to smoke duck.

Tea in Appetisers, Mains & Savouries

Prepare your guest’s palate with enlivening flavours in tea infused appetisers. One can use tea as a surprise element in food, by using uncommon teas such as with Elderflower with Cinnamon and Apple tea. As much as there is a tea for every mood, there is a tea for every occasion; tea in food can not only enhance flavour but also enhance an occasion - Roast Duck with Blueberry and Pomegranate Tea Sauce is one such example, perfect for elaborate dinners!

Tea for Dessert

Explore new flavours with common desserts such as Macarons – infused with Green Tea for a refreshing taste on the palate or use Berry Tea for a taste of spring. Rose with French Vanilla tea in Panna Cotta makes a delicious and fragrant dessert that would definitely have guest wanting more. Beyond tea infused confectionaries you can use it as a dip, dressing, in jellies, jams, sorbets and sauces. Martha Stewart, doyen of gracious living suggests using ground Earl Grey tea to flavour tea cookies.

Tea for Fragrance in Food

Jasmine tea is often used to mask the fishy scent of seafood dishes. Contemporary cooking sometimes employs green tea’s distinct taste to lend another flavour dimension to meats. Glazes can be added with ground Oolong tea; dried seafood can be rehydrated in herbal and green tea and fish can be poached in black or green tea. Roast Duck with Blueberry and Pomegranate Tea Sauce