Tea is a beverage that has been used for centuries because of its health beauty benefits. Teas such as herbal teas are known for their medicinal values. Some prefer tea to rid themselves of the lethargy while others have it to rejuvenate their skin. Whatever, the reason may be for drinking tea, this beverage can work wonders on your body, both inside and outside.
The types of tea people drink today include green tea, black tea, white tea, rooibos tea, chamomile tea, oolong tea, matcha tea, hibiscus tea, dandelion tea, rose tea, peppermint tea, jasmine tea, and so many more.
But, have you thought of changing this ancient method of sipping on the benefits of different kinds of tea? Why don’t you take it a step further and cook with tea? That’s right! Let’s give these tea leaves a break from the cup and give way to the saucepans instead.
5 Ways You Can Cook With Tea Leaves
If cooking with tea sounds weird to you, here are a few ways you can include tea leaves in your dishes.
1. Use Them In Your Marinade
Adding tea leaves to the basic ingredients of your marinade – salt, sugar, garlic, oil, lemon juice – can provide your dish a different yet delicious aroma and flavor. Just like you would grind spices to marinate your meat or vegetables, do the same and include some fresh, high-quality tea leaves to the mixture. You can use this on any type of meat – chicken, beef, duck, pork, or even fish. The longer you allow your meat to sit in the marinade, the more the meat absorbs all the flavors, including the flavor of the tea leaves you have added.
2. Add Them To Your Breakfast
If you are bored of the usual morning routine preparing oatmeal and toast for yourself and family, then you can change that to an unusually flavorsome breakfast using tea. This may sound fancy but the preparation is not that fancy at all. All you need to do is add tea leaves to the water or milk you heat to prepare your oatmeal. Cover and let it steep for about five to ten minutes. Strain the tea leaves and use the water or milk like you normally would to prepare the oatmeal. So, now when you wake up in the morning surprise yourself and your family with the oatmeal but with a tea twist!
3. Make Them Part Of Your Baked Goodies
Baking can be fun but make it even more fun by making tea part of your baked goodies. You can bake cookies but instead of the usual vanilla flavor, add some ground tea leaves to the dough. You can add a tea that can impart a fruity flavor like jasmine tea or you can add green tea leaves for a subtle flavor. It is important to remember that tea absorbs water, so you must be careful about the amount of tea and flour you add to the cookie dough. If you are adding more tea leaves for a stronger flavor, you may want to cut down the flour by a tablespoon or two or it may dry your cookie.
4. Pair Them With Your Desserts
Enhance the flavor of your desserts by adding in some fresh tea leaves along with the other ingredients you use to prepare your sweet dish. Matcha tea has been used to prepare ice creams, cheesecakes, tiramisu, popsicles, and others. You can use other teas like peppermint tea for a refreshing flavor or even Earl Grey (a tea flavored with the oil of bergamot) for your chocolate desserts.
5. Include Them In Your Workout Smoothies
If you workout regularly, fresh smoothies are not new to you. But, if you want to add some flavor to your healthy green smoothie or any other homemade smoothies you have on a daily basis, you can add some tea to it. Make sure to brew your tea strong so the flavor stands out. You can add fruity black tea like lemon tea to fruit-based smoothies. If you are a fan of vegetables-based smoothies, then go for the green teas like matcha.
Apart from these interesting ways, you can use tea as a smoking agent to cook your meat. This Chinese cooking technique involves placing a few tea leaves (black, green, jasmine, etc) and uncooked rice in a foil. The food is cooked over the tea mixture in a steamer. This brings about a smoky flavor for your meat. Similarly, you can also add tea to the stock you prepare for rice or even soups or broths.
There is a lot you can do with tea leaves and because of the wide variety of teas available, you have that many more flavors to add to the dishes you cook normally.