International Tea Day: Don’t settle for the kettle, cook with tea! - Hindustan Times
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International Tea Day: Don’t settle for the kettle, cook with tea!

By Ismat Tahseen
May 21, 2024 02:15 PM IST

Turn over a new leaf by trying out these interesting dishes with tea.

Chai, shai, cha, te, tea, teh — one beverage with differing but easily distinguishable names has the world wrapped around its little finger. It works as morning refresher, day-long pick-me-up and post-sunset fatigue-buster, but tea isn’t just a beverage anymore; it has plopped into food and dessert, too.

Go beyond just sipping on your tea, add it to food, too(Pexels)
Go beyond just sipping on your tea, add it to food, too(Pexels)

Salads to dishes

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In Chinese marbled tea eggs, the tea-flavoured liquid seasons the eggs and gives them a marble-like appearance (Shutterstock)
In Chinese marbled tea eggs, the tea-flavoured liquid seasons the eggs and gives them a marble-like appearance (Shutterstock)


Why just sip on tea? Cook with it. Tea connoisseur Kavita Mathur says, “One can make delightful tea-marbled eggs by boiling eggs and then steeping them well with a teaspoon of Assam black tea after slightly cracking the eggshells. Leave the eggs in the tea for half an hour, and voila! The marbled eggs are ready to serve. This is best paired with a hot cup of English breakfast tea and buttered toast.”

Laphet Thoke, the Burmese fermented tea leaf salad, is a delicious explosion of flavours and textures (Shutterstock)
Laphet Thoke, the Burmese fermented tea leaf salad, is a delicious explosion of flavours and textures (Shutterstock)

 

Dishes such as tea leaf salad and fried rice with tea leaf are highlights of Burmese cuisine. “The tea leaf salad is made with laphet, tossed with fried garlic, nuts, sesame seeds, lettuce, and tomatoes and it is packed with flavours and textures,” shares chef Ansab Khan of the restaurant chain, Burma Burma, adding, “This is a unique delicacy where 80% of the country’s tea production is used to make Laphet — fermented and pickled tea leaves.”


Tea-ming them up right

“The Chinese and Burmese have been using tea as an important ingredient in their cooking. Pairing food with tea goes back to the Victorian Era. The formal afternoon tea was popular among the elite and was paired with small portions of baked food like scones, fruit cakes and sandwiches,” says Mathur, as she goes on to share a few tips on doing it right:
 

In India, chai-samosa is one of the most popular food combinations (Unsplash)
In India, chai-samosa is one of the most popular food combinations (Unsplash)

 

  • Hot masala chai prepared with bold notes of Assam tea can be paired with samosa and pakoras.
  • The Japanese pair matcha green tea with mochi — dumplings made from sweet red bean paste.
  • Chinese jasmine green tea can pair well with Indian curries.
  • With its delicate notes, Darjeeling tea pairs best with cream cheese.

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