Kitchen/Practical. Tea in the kitchen: between tastes and virtues

At the origins

We began to use the tea as a medicine for external use, in the form of a paste to soothe rheumatic pains. For internal use, tea was consumed like a soup. Thus appear the first recipes.

Soon, the leaves were softened with steam and crushed in a mortar before being compressed into a pancake which was put to boil with rice, milk, spices and even onions.

On the aura understood, it is according to its culture and its traditions that each population has developed its own recipes. Here are a few representative examples.

In Tibet, a decoction of tea is prepared to which milk, salt and butter are added. This allows Tibetans to stock up on vitamins and fat for the day! This drink is called chai.

Among the Chinese, leicha is a mixture of powdered tea, peanuts, blond and black sesame with the addition of boiling water. After being crushed with a pestle, the mixture obtained is served with puffed rice.

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A source of inspiration

In the West, and in France, tea is now very present in sweet recipes. The growing interest in this little tea leaf, some chefs, like our eastern neighbors, are beginning to introduce it into their savory recipes.

Indeed, as the spices do so subtly, the tea brings a delicate aroma that enriches the dish with lightness. Because there is no question of weighing down or invading the dish. You just have to sublimate it!

We also know that wine and tea have many things in common. A proof ? Well, like wine, tea brings together increasingly different terroirs! The vocabulary, the families of aromatic notes are similar. Associating tea with food therefore seems more and more natural.

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Dry leaf and infused leaf

Like a vegetable, the tea leaf is mixed with the other ingredients of the preparation. To do this, you must use high quality teas. In Japan, for example, after steeping in boiling water, green tea leaves are eaten with bonito drizzled with soy sauce.

The dry leaf, for its part, is placed directly in contact with the food. It is usually sprinkled on the food before cooking, then removed or not, depending on the desired flavor.

Like cumin, pepper and other curries, tea goes into tagines or marinades for chicken skewers. The notes will then be woody, or even spicy and malty!

You can also stud the meat with tea leaves. After delicately incising the flesh of a duck breast, poultry or roast, slip a tea leaf into each cut. This intensely flavors the meat, enriching it with smoky and woody notes.

With ancient vegetables such as Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips or other rutabagas, we make happy marriages!

For the sweet note, add a teaspoon of crushed tea to cakes, financiers, pound cakes, custards…

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