Halal Consumer - Issue 31 - page 7

Looking for ways to spice up your meals?
Want your in-laws to be impressed with
your cooking whenever they visit for
the holidays? Well, you can cook with
a
secret
ingredient — tea! Whoops,
did I say that too loud? Make any dish
you serve a party for the mouth. There
is such a wide variety of scrumptious
recipes with tea as an ingredient, from
cookies to smoothies and even chicken
noodle soup.
Whether it’s oolong, Earl Grey, matcha,
Darjeeling, hibiscus, chamomile, or jas-
mine tea, advanced and amateur cooks
can all use tea to cook with. You will
want to choose the tea specifically to
format the taste you want your meal to
have. You can use tea as a brew or as
sprinkled leaves. Tea leaves are sold in
grocery and specialty stores ranging in
price depending on quality.
Cooking with tea started in Ancient
China. The Chinese used to fill fish
with dry oolong tea leaves by stuffing
them into the mouth of the fish. They
would then proceed to steam and eat
the fish. Tea-smoked duck is a Chinese
classic and tea-leaf eggs are a Chinese
New Year special. Hard boiled eggs are
soaked for an hour in green or black tea
while keeping the tea brew hot. A few
minutes prior to taking the eggs out of
the pot their shells are cracked slightly,
allowing the egg to have a brownish,
marbled appearance.
In recent years, cooking with tea has
made its way from China to the western
parts of the world. Currently, some of
the world’s most famous chefs use tea in
their recipes. Martha Stewart has a popu-
lar Earl Grey Tea Cookie recipe. In her
Green Tea Poached Chicken with Green
Tea Rice recipe, “brown rice soaks up
the green tea, giving it a delicate, earthy
taste.” Her Green Tea Poached Salmon
seems like a delectable dish for the fam-
ily. Stewart’s Pacific Halibut in Green Tea
Broth combines a cup of brewed green
tea with peanut oil, soy sauce, and honey,
creating a unique and sharp taste on your
tongue. Her Green Tea Ice-cream will look
appealing to your children and have them
begging for more. Using tea relieves you
of the guilt of unhealthy eating.
Daniel Patterson, renowned chef and
owner of Coi, the Michelin two-starred
restaurant in San Francisco, had his
famous Jasmine Tea Rice recipe featured
in the
New York Times
. He’s added ground
chamomile tea to almond cake and used
finely ground oolong tea leaves to trans-
form scallops in citrus sauce. Yes, tea has
found itself a place in many of his recipes
at Coi. In
Bon Appétit
magazine, Patterson
tells home cooks to “think of it as a spice,”
much like you would cumin or thyme.
In an article he wrote for the
New York
Times
, Patterson elaborates on his use of
tea as a way to elevate the usual. “Tea
has a way of making the most mundane
dishes feel exotic and new — for example,
chicken soup infused with green tea.” The
seasoned chef admits, “No tea can save a
badly made stock, but it will make a good
one better, adding a nutty dimension.”
Pierre Hermé, a world-famous pâtissier,
is yet another chef who incorporates tea
in his creations. Hermé, famed macaron
maker, is known for his unique combina-
tion of flavors. He uses the green-colored
matcha tea in his matcha and chestnut
and matcha and black sesame macarons.
Hermé also makes a beautiful jasmine
tea macaron. According to
Bon Appétit
magazine, “Matcha prices range from $5
per ounce to a whopping $100 per ounce.
For drinking, look for premium grade.
For cooking, buy the less-expensive culi-
nary grade.”
It’s important to use precise amounts
of tea so as not to give the food a bitter
taste. To receive the best taste from your
tea, use loose tea. Tea coming from bags
is usually the less appetizing parts of the
leaf. Loose tea also provides healthy anti-
oxidants that tea from bags lack. Regular
tea bags will give off a decent amount of
flavor but loose leaves pack in more due
to size. Their scent is hypnotizing, too.
In addition to the unique taste, dishes
made with tea can be healthier. As
mentioned earlier, tea leaves supply
the body with antioxidants when con-
sumed. Antioxidants are nutrients that
counter diseases like cancer and heart
disease. The tea leaves also provide
your body with plant polyphenols that
fight against pathogens trying to harm
your body.
Any recipes that require water can have
tea as a substitute. For example, when
you are making cake out of the box and
the instructions call for one cup of water,
you can use one cup of tea instead.
You will want to use fresh brewed tea,
of course. If you have a recipe that
you enjoy making, give it a twist with
tea. You’ll have your own unique and
delectable way of cooking. Your secret
ingredient will be tea. Shhh!
YOUSUF KHAN
is a budding chef and in his
spare time experiments with spices in his fam-
ily’s pantry.
IFANCA
®
has certified a number
of tea products, including teas
made by
Isagenix
,
POM Wonderful
,
and
Third Street Chai
; syrups
made by
Monin, Inc
.; nutritional
supplements made by
4Life
Research
,
Herbalife
,
Nutrilite
, and
Unicity International
; cosmetics
made by
Baqi Inc.
(Amara); flavors
made by
Arnet Pharmaceutical
; dairy
products made by
Baskin Robbins
and
Nestlé Pakistan
; and personal
care products made by
Melaleuca,
Inc.
and
Sunrider International
.
I guess tea truly is a ‘secret
ingredient’! Please note not all of
these products are available in every
market. Check the website for regional
availability. [IFANCA]
Winter 2014
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