Tea is not only the most widely-consumed beverage in the world (apart from water) but is also fast becoming a popular ingredient in cooking and baking. Tea can add a unique dimension to sweet and savory dishes by enhancing certain flavors and balancing out others. As there are so many different types of tea available from around the world you will never run out of ways to use tea in your cooking to add herbal, spicy, sweet, floral, and earthy undertones to your dishes. Here are just three of the many ways you can incorporate tea into your cooking.
Replace Common Liquids with Tea
One of the simplest ways to incorporate tea into your cooking is by replacing common liquids with it. If a recipe calls for water, milk, or even broth, head to your tea collection and choose one that will add a new taste dimension to the dish you are preparing. Choose a tea with fruity undertones to cook your oatmeal and grains in while opting for a spicy chai for your rich stews and buttery baked goods. A floral Earl Grey can also add a lovely flavor to a range of baked goods. If you cannot find the variety of teas you are looking for at your local stores, consider signing up for a tea subscription service. This way you gain access to tea variants from across the world without having to leave your house.
Makes Rubs and Marinades
Tea can also be used to create delectable rubs and marinades for meat, vegetables, poultry, fish, and even tofu. Add tea leaves to your regular rub or make your own from scratch using ingredients such as salt, brown sugar, and a selection of herbs and spices. Lapsang souchong tea works particularly well in a rub thanks to its undeniable dark smokiness. Make a restaurant-worthy rub by adding finely-ground tea to a mixture of sea salt, molasses, paprika, garlic, black pepper, fennel, and marjoram. You can also add steeped tea to your favorite marinade to help lock in moisture and flavor. A simple yet delicious marinade can be made using only steeped Earl Grey tea, mustard, lemon, honey, and rosemary.
Experiment with Tea Butter
You can easily add tea to your recipes by making delicately-flavored infused butter or oil. To make your own tea butter, gently melt butter in a pan, add tea leaves, and allow it to steep for a few minutes on low heat. Once you have allowed it to cool for about 5 minutes, strain the butter (or oil) before placing it in an air-tight container. Butter should be kept in the refrigerator while infused oil can simply be kept in a cool place. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different tea infusions to get the desired taste for various sweet and savory dishes. A subtle Rooibos or Earl Grey infused butter can even be enjoyed simply slathered on freshly baked biscuits or bread.
Tea is so much more than just the most popular hot beverage in the world. It can also easily be incorporated into savory and sweet dishes to enhance its overall flavor profile.