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Cooking With Tea - Using Tea in Savory Dishes

Updated on October 24, 2015

Would you like to eat some tea? This sounds rather strange even to me, a girl who has tasted aligator and enjoys eating frog legs. You might have heard that tea is used in making desserts and some classic Chinese dishes, such as tea-smoked duck and tea-flavored eggs. And that's pretty much it, right? Although tea has been a popular beverage in many cultures for centuries, it is not a common cooking ingredient in many cuisines when it comes to main courses.

Last week I came across this book called "The Ultimate Tea Diet" by Mark Ukra, AKA Dr. Tea. He encourages his readers to drink plenty of tea throughout the day as well as incorporate tea in daily cooking. This diet approach, Dr. Tea claims, will help facilitate weight loss by curbing our appetite and increasing our fat burning rates. With all the research statistics he provides, his diet theory sounds plausible although not entirely solid. I neither support nor oppose his weight loss strategy. Like many diet fads, it probably works for some people yet not the others. But anyway, I have to admit this book has really perked up the adventurous chef within me.

"I can make my fish taste like Earl Grey and lend my chicken the aroma of Darjeeling? That's freakin awesome!" I thought to myself. So this week I have embarked on my "cooking with tea" experiments and completed three delightful dishes, using Earl Gray and Matcha green tea. You don't have to cook with the same choices of tea, though. Just experiment with whatever tea you prefer and have fun with it. In fact, Dr. Tea also offers many delicious-sounding recipes in his book, but my inner chef is pretty audacious; I decided I'd rather come up with my own formula of ingredients and flavors. After all, I really got a kick out of this culinary adventure and will continue cooking with tea from now on.

Baked Tea Salmon

Ingredients (for 1 serving)

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 1 tsp. ground Earl Grey tea
  • 1 tsp. chopped dill
  • 3 - 4 whole stems of dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • cooking spray

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Remove salmon skin. Rub tea, salt and pepper all over the fillet.
  • Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Arrange whole stems of dill on the bottom of the dish, then place the fillet over them.
  • Sprinkle chopped dill over the salmon.
  • Bake for about 12 - 18 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and discard the stems on the bottom. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over your tea fish. Garnish with fresh dill and parsley sprigs (optional).

Why Earl Grey? Because it contains a sweet citrusy scent that I think goes wonderfully with oily fish like salmon. And unlike some other types of tea, Earl Grey doesn't have a tart aftertaste. But as I've said, you can use any kind of tea you desire. Nobody else understands your tastebuds better than you.

 

Sweet Potato - Green Tea Salad

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fat-free mayo
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Matcha green tea powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Boil sweet potatoes until tender but not too soft. Set aside and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, cucumber and parsley.
  • In a small bowl mix mayo with vinegar, green tea, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the salad and stir together thoroughly.

If you don't like cucumbers, opt for bell peppers or celery to create a crunchy texture in your green tea salad. And if you want your dressing to look as green as an alien's goo (hmmmm doesn't sound very appetizing, does it?), just add a little more green tea powder. Now, in hindsight, I think this salad would have been even nicer if I had sprinkled some chopped walnuts or almonds over it. Oh well, there will always be next time.

Tea crusted Pork

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 8 slices of thin-cut pork loin (about 2 inches each)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Matcha green tea powder
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • cooking spray

 

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
  • Combine bread crumbs, salt and green tea powder in a bowl.
  • Dip each slice of pork in egg, then coat it evenly with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Lightly grease a baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange breaded pork slices on it and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Serve with steamed rice and a sauce of your choice.

Two sauces that will complement this dish quite beautifully are Sriracha and Tonkatsu. Look for them in the Asian section of your local supermarket. Tonkatsu is a sweetish, soy-based seasoning, whereas Sriracha is an intense chili sauce for spiciness lovers. I personally prefer Sriracha. I like the way the red sauce contrasts with the green tea crust; it makes my dish whimsically Christmassy!

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  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    You're welcome. Glad you found these tea recipes interesting. :)

  • profile image

    wildelderberryone 6 years ago

    I read anarticle some years ago in a magazine about using room temperature tea for the liquid in cakes. I've also made tea eggs and enjoyed them. And i've heard of chefs cooking with tea, but this is the first time I've seen real recipes using it. Thanks for the article.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Thanks, toknowinfo. I'm glad you found these tea recipes worth trying :)

  • toknowinfo profile image

    toknowinfo 6 years ago

    Very interesting. I never thought of cooking with tea. Thanks for the tips. I will try it for sure. Voted up and useful and bookmarked.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Hi, gypsumgirl. Nice to meet you. We're very much alike. I'm half-Chinese, grew up in Thailand, and miss it badly. Oh and I also love tea eggs. :)

  • gypsumgirl profile image

    gypsumgirl 6 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

    Thanks for your post...and I enjoy your hubs...I'm Chinese but grew up in Thailand and sure miss it! Your mention of cooking with tea brings back childhood memories of my mom's marbled tea eggs.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Hi, Pamela. Thanks for the read and comment. :)

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    I was not aware that you could cook all those dishes with tea. I drink green tea daily but I will try cooking with it now that I have bookmarked your article. Thanks for the great information.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Thanks for dropping by and voting up, Loren. That tea salmon is my favorite among the three recipes. Salmon and Earl Grey go well together. :)

  • Loren's Gem profile image

    Loren's Gem 6 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

    Great share, Om! I love that baked tea salmon and will surely try that recipe! The images also make me feel hungry. (lol) Thanks so much for sharing. Rated and voted it up! :-)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    Hi Teresa, thanks for the read and kind comment. :)

  • eventsyoudesign profile image

    eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

    Great hub once again. You are very talented and the information you present in your articles is very interesting and easy to follow. I love tea and will try cooking with it. Glad I found you. Teresa

  • GreenThumbLady profile image

    GreenThumbLady 7 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

    I have never heard of using tea for cooking!! This is just brilliant! I absolutely love this hub. thanks for the information!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    That sounds interesting. I've never tried tea-crusted tilapia. Thanks for sharing this. :)

  • Lesley D profile image

    Lesley D 7 years ago from Sarasota, Florida

    Great hub! I had tea-encrusted tilapia at book club one month and have been making it ever since. It's so simple: marinate in soy sauce for a few minutes, then dip it in any flavor "zinger" tea leaves. My favorite is orange zinger.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    Ah, very nice! That's a smart way to make use of steeped tea leaves. :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Sounds very interesting! I'll try it on fish soon. As to throwing out the tea leaves...they all go on our compost pile so nothing is wasted! :-)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    @Hummingbird - Maybe you could use your favorite black tea in these recipes. Thanks so much for dropping by and commenting.

    @Dana - So plants enjoy drinking tea just like we do, huh? That's very interesting. And hey, thank you for sharing your article.

    @Patty - Hmmmm tea-poached meat....I've got to try that! Thanks for reading this and spreading the word. :)

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

    Excellent Hub! I've pooched meats in tea, added it to soups, and made tea eggs, but a tea rub is an interesting approach that I will try. Voted Up, rated and shared.

  • marleymauve profile image

    marleymauve 7 years ago from near Toronto

    Hi!

    I've written a few articles on this subject, too. (here's one where I talk about making chicken noodle soup with white tea for great infection fighting benefits when you've got a cold or flu: http://healthniche.ca/2008/08/25/health-benefits-o... I use tea as a soup base (green, white, and chai --- for several types of soups and it makes for great flavour enhancement)I also use regular black tea in gravy as well as to de-glaze the pan when making other dishes. My mother in law feeds old tea from the pot to her houseplants. I started doing it and my plants seem to love it!

    Cheers,

    Dana

  • Hummingbird5356 profile image

    Hummingbird5356 7 years ago

    I have never used tea in cooking before, only as a drink. I prefer black tea, with milk and sugar. This looks interesting, I will certainly consider trying some of these recipes.

    Thanks for a good hub.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    @KoffeeKlatch - Cool! I hope you'll try them all!

    @Simone - You can try the sweet potato - green tea salad. DUH! hehe Thanks in advance for spreading the word :)

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

    Fabulous hub! I've always intrigued by the concept of cooking with tea, and you've made it seem quite do-able. Alas, I can't try any of these recipes firsthand, since I don't eat meat, but I'm definitely going to pass them on to friends!

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I never thought about usig tea in my recipes-what a wonderful idea. I will definitely be trying your Bked Tea Salmon. Actually all of the recipes sound delicious.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    @Marisue - Not only healthy but yummy too! Thanks a lot for the read. :)

    @leatherfootball - Thanks. I appreciate your comment. I'll try to come up with more fun (and delicious!)hubs like this one. :)

  • leatherfootball profile image

    leatherfootball 7 years ago

    Wow, this is a really cool hub. I've never thought or heard about this concept. I'm happy to follow you and see what other interesting hubs you come up with!

  • marisuewrites profile image

    marisuewrites 7 years ago from USA

    What an interesting approach to healthy dishes! I'm going to put this to the test, in hopes of utilizing the benefits of green tea particularly! Thanks, great ideas!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    Hey P'Prew! Good to see you here yo. Glad you're going to try this tea recipe. P'Boy will like it, too...maybe. kekeke =D

  • profile image

    P'Prew @ BKK 7 years ago

    Green tea pork looks tempting...! yumm, will try that soon...!

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    @papernotes - You're welcome. Try cooking with tea some time. You'll love it!

    @readabook - Hmmmmm earl gray cookies...you just woke up my sweet tooth!

    @MG - haha I actually feel the same way about throwing tea leaves away. We're such cheapos! LOL Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Always good to see you.

  • Money Glitch profile image

    Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

    Now I must admit I've never heard of cooking with tea, however, have always thought its such a shame to throw out tea leaves. LOL! This is very interesting Om, because I love the way tea taste and recently started drinking 2 to 4 cups of green or black tea a day. Now I will have to try cooking with it. Bookmarking and rating up. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • readabook profile image

    readabook 7 years ago from Texas

    I too love cooking with tea. I found this great recipe for earl grey tea cookies and brought them to a cookie swap and everyone really liked them.

  • PaperNotes profile image

    PaperNotes 7 years ago

    Great hub! I love to drink tea but I have not thought it can be used as a cooking ingredient. Thank you very much.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    Very cool! I know nothing about the Scottish cuisine. Now you got me interested. :)

  • katiem2 profile image

    katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

    I've been cooking with tea all my life. My elders taught me to use tea as a common spice, tenderizer and the like. It was really nice to find this guide on cooking with tea from you as our cultures blended make for better knowledge. My historical knowledge of cooking with tea comes from my homeland Scotland! Thanks for sharing. Peace :)

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image
    Author

    Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

    @anglnwu - Cool! And don't forget to share your recipes :)

    @BkCreative - I enjoyed your hub about tea beer. Very interesting. I'll certainly try it some day.

    @2besure - Yeah, tea and fish go together quite nicely, especially yummy fish like mahi mahi. Bon appetit!

    @mioluna - Thanks! If you like drinking tea, you'll like cooking with tea as well.

    @akirchner - Hi Audrey! The tea salmon is my favorite among these three dishes. Earl Gray is a great seasoning for fish!

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

    Love that tea baked salmon recipe! I know what I'm going to be trying next - and I love your presentation in the photos again!

  • profile image

    mioluna 7 years ago

    Wow you discovered for me this secret of culinary! Impressed!

  • 2besure profile image

    Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I never knew you could cook with tea. I am making Mahi Mahi tonite,I will try it.

  • BkCreative profile image

    BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

    This is wonderful! I went to an Indonesia restaurant where we had a green tea salad - it was amazing! Then when I was buying a wok in ChinaTown - when I saw a woman looking at a wok I was looking at - I asked her opinion and she said she liked it for cooking tea. Wow! I will do your sweet potato green tea salad. Yay!

    And I just wrote a hub about beer being brewed with tea.

    Your hub is so timely. This is something we need to know. More wonderful ways to enjoy tea. Yay! More more more! Rated up!

  • anglnwu profile image

    anglnwu 7 years ago

    I love tea-smoked duck and marbled tea-eggs and now this interesting hub is sprouting all kinds of possibilities in my head. Thanks for the ideas--I'm going to steal some tricks and start playing with using tea in my food. Rated awesome!