We’re all probably familiar with the idea of cooking with coffee, particularly its popularity in rich coffee and chocolate combos. As well as being a common ingredient in treats and deserts, coffeeeven goes well with meat – supposedly it makes a great complement to pork! Tea hasn’t quite enjoyed the same reputation in England, though elsewhere in the world it’s been a cooking staple for centuries. As our signature drink, and with so many gorgeous and unique flavours to experiment with, it’s definitely time to embrace some amazing (or bonkers) tea-based dishes.
While the experts never seem to agree on whether it possesses the health-boosting properties to make it qualify it as a superfood, a lot of tea is very rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It’s also calorie free, making it undeniably a great and healthy alternative flavouring in cooking. Here are six recipes to get stuck into – so grab yourself some quality tea, and start taking notes for the next time you want to try cook up something unique.
· Green Tea Frozen Yoghurt
A low-fat alternative to the popular Japanese dessert, green tea ice cream, this frozen yoghurt works beautifully with strawberries, tropical fruits or poached figs. This recipesuggests using Greek yoghurt to add creaminess to the texture. Garnish with a drizzle of honey and sprinkle some sliced almonds on top.
· Chinese Tea Eggs
Tea eggs are a traditional and much loved Asian snack food, often sold by street vendors in China. They’re also brilliantly easy to make. Bring 6 eggs to the boil in a pan and simmer for around 5 minutes. Having drained the water and let them cool, gently crack their shells (but don’t remove them). Cover the eggs with water again and add a few tablespoons of Chinese five-spice power, 3 tablespoons of salt, 1 star anise, and a black tea bag. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour to let the flavours really infuse. Drain, then tuck in – and enjoy their pretty marble pattern.
· White Tea Poached Salmon
Also popular in Asia is salmon poached in green tea. Try using white tea for an alternative with a light, slightly sweeter taste. This recipe recommends a poaching liquid consisting of tea, garlic, ginger, lemon, soy sauce, and Japanese condiment mirin. For a more potent flavour, use loose tea.
· Chai Tea Oatmeal
Many of us need a cuppa to get going in the mornings, so this dish combines two breakfast-time classics in one. A hearty bowl of oatmeal is perfect for cold winter mornings, and the sweet cinnamon flavour of chai adds a great twist to a familiar taste. In a small pan, bring water and milk to the boil. Add one or two chai tea bags and leave for around 5 minutes on a reduced heat. Replace the teabags with your preferred amount of oatmeal and, stirring frequently, cook for another 5 minutes. All that’s left to do is sweeten the oatmeal with a little honey. You can make a great alternative by using coconut milk instead (plus a little coconut extract) or adding a banana alongside the oatmeal.
· Earl Grey Cupcakes
Earl Grey tea cupcakes make a lovely occasional treat. While some suggest using Earl Grey in chocolate cake recipes, a plainer sponge is better when it comes to really bringing out the delicate citrus and almost floral flavour of the tea. Here is a great recipe, though to make your cupcakes less calorific, use a sugar substitute, skimmed milk, and just the whites of the eggs.
Do you ever use tea or coffee in your cooking? What’s your favourite dish?
*This post was sponsored by Whittards of Chelsea*