International Tea Day: Tea gets an upgrade from the kettle
From sweet to savoury delicacies, chefs are incorporating the unique flavour of the aromatic tea leaves to prepare gastronomic delightsUpdated: May 21, 2020 14:03 IST
As May 21 marks the International Tea Day, it’s safe to say that the humble tea has moved beyond the popular hot beverage. From sweet to savoury delicacies, chefs all over the globe are using unique flavours of tea to prepare meats, cocktails and desserts either by infusing, smoking, braising or grinding the aromatic leaves.
“I was first inspired to cook with tea when I was creating a hand-rolled pasta dish and wanted to create more flavour without adding butter or extra fat. I thought about using a flavourful cooking liquid like juice or stock but suddenly decided to infuse tea flavour to the pasta dough and sauce. I immediately steeped some more tea and used that as the cooking liquid for my pasta as a stock which added a whole different dimension to the sauce,” says chef Pawan Bisht, corporate chef and R&D executive, One8Commune by Virat Kohli.
An additional attribute of tea is its antioxidant characters, feels chef Nishant Choubey. He also anticipates, “We will soon be able to drink tea-wine and if we look at the probiotic effect of Kombucha which is fermented tea, the uniqueness and aroma makes it completely different.” He further adds, “Right from compressing to reduction it complements very well to the protein and the from matcha to jasmine to elderflower, the uniqueness which can be created by using tea can’t be neglected.”
Chef Tarun Sibal, co-partner, Cafe Staywoke, Gurugram, whose one of the signature desserts at the restaurant is chai-kulfi with a biscuit crumble, opines that tea is an ingredient that’s so versatile and has no cuisine boundaries. He says, “From providing subtle references of floral, smoke and green noted tea can also pack a punch and be the principle flavour profile for a dish or a drink.”
Cooking with tea and infusing the leaves also has several health benefits such as improvised blood flow and increased metabolism. Mamta Dagar, a nutritionist, fitness and lifestyle coach says, “Infused teas give sudden energy boost and have enormous health benefits. For example, ginger benefits the sinuses, chamomile aids in improving the metabolism, lemon aids in increasing alkalinity in the body.”
She also suggests spicing up the regular green tea by adding some seasonal fruits like, peach, apple, kiwi, melons as well as leaves like basil or mint for an added flavour.
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