Can you cook with tea? Definitely, in the same way as spices and aromatic herbs, tea leaves can be used to give aroma and flavor to all kinds of preparations. The possibilities, dear reader, go beyond the matcha.
Although the kitchen with tea has gained popularity in recent years, driven by the antioxidant properties and sensory richness that the infusion has, the gastronomic uses of the camellia sinensis (the tea plant) date from time immemorial. In the middle of the thirteenth century, the Mongol empire annually demanded millions of kilos of tea from China, which were exchanged for horses; In addition to assessing their digestive qualities, the Mongols consumed Pu-erh’s infused strands as a day-to-day vegetable. Yes, sautéing tender vegetables seasoned with the moist sprouts of a traditional white tea, for example, is a pleasure reserved for true connoisseurs of the subject.
“What can be cooked?” Literally everything from white teas, green, black and pure mid-range oolongs, to perfumed blends of European cut. Take note! Marinades for meats, stuffings for roasted and sautéed birds of fresh or dehydrated fruits can be enriched with buds and leaves infused with camellia; in dry, the strands are able to print aroma and flavor to doughs, confectionery pastries and salty bakery. The next time you decide to bake homemade cookies, add a pinch of the Earl Gray of your choice to the dough; the result, you will see, is fascinating.
During the process of kneading and softening, chocolate can also be mixed with dried camellia strands to adopt all kinds of sensorial profiles: fruit, spicy, smoked, vegetable, earthy… In the same way as the flower of salt, a pinch of strands of camellia helps to enhance the taste of chocolate bars, chocolates and truffles.
Let’s now point to matcha, the most frequent example in contemporary culinary creation. Made from shoots and leaves for the production of high quality green teas, such as gyokuro or some varieties of sencha, ground to a fine powder, very bright and bitter, the matcha has become an indispensable of sweet creations around the planet. Thanks to its powdery texture, this pure green tea is perfect to dissolve in doughs, sauces, sweet creams and all kinds of desserts.
Ojo, we have already said that not all matcha are the same. Before adding the tea to a preparation, it is important to verify that it is a variety of culinary grade; unlike specimens intended for ceremonial use, culinary matcha are designed to express particular aromas and flavors when subjected to a cooking method.
How to use it? Start by infusing the tea by gently beating it in hot water at 70-75 ° C to eliminate its lumps; matcha is very delicate, so a liquid medium at a higher temperature could seriously damage it. Once ready, the infusion can be incorporated into the recipe freely. Remember that, due to its concentration of aromas and flavors, this pure green tea should always be used in small proportions.
Your task, dear reader, is to incorporate strands of tea into your holiday kitchen. Do not forget to tell us how it went.