May 23, 2023
by Heather Edwards
Cooking with green tea
is a delight and its flexibility is legion. The freshness of the tea, whether from Japan, China, India or other countries, brightens up all types of foods.
Green tea leaves can be used like an herb for seasoning or a garnish; the brewed liquor is excellent in marinades, dressings or sauces, and it’s a delicious addition to other beverages from smoothies to cocktails.
Among the many other ways you can use either the leaves or brewed tea liquor are to season the final moments of making light soups. A sprinkle of your favorite Dragonwell
, or Pouchong
(a green oolong) will be just the right seasoning to finish the soup such as a vichyssoise or bone broth or add tea leaves to the liquid for cooking rice, noodles (soba noodles work especially well) or other grains adds a light astringency that elevates these foods from bland to intriguing.
You can switch up conventional black tea dishes with green teas, like using flavored or plain greens for marbled eggs. Green tea adds a delicate sage swirl of markings to the hard-boiled eggs that’s so pretty in summertime dishes. Also, plain sparkling waters, vodka or gin all become more interesting with a crush of fresh green tea leaves.
Dairy is another wonderful carrier for green tea (think green tea ice cream or yogurt smoothies) so let your imagination have its way with you and experiment with cooking with green tea!
The three primary ways to use your favorite green teas are as a seasoning, poaching liquid or in a beverage. We offer sample recipes for each.
SEASON WITH LEAVES
Using tea as a garnish will not only add flavor, but texture!
1. OMELETTE SENCHA
YIELD: 1 generous serving
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 pat butter
½ level teaspoon Japanese Sencha
leaves (a fine Dragonwell
would be good alternatives)
In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs with the water until fully incorporated.
Add butter to a small skillet or omelet pan and melt slowly over low heat.
Gently pour the eggs into the pan.
When the eggs begin to settle, sprinkle the tea leaves evenly over the eggs. Gently fold the omelet in half and slide onto a plate.
Serve immediately with your choice of warm rice and pickled vegetables or your favorite toast with butter or avocado.
POACH FOODS WITH BREWED TEA
When using green tea in brewed form, it’s critical to brew it with cool water, up to 20 minutes. No need to heat the water! This eliminates the possibility of bitterness when used to cook the tea in a dish. A good ratio to use is 1½ heaping teaspoons of green tea to 8 ounces of room temperature water, preferably from local springs. Adjust to your taste.
2. JADE SNAIL SALAD with TOFU/SHRIMP
This light summertime dish is perfect for lunch or dinner. Jade Snail S tastes delicious with a unique combination of delicacy and boldness of Jade Snail, buds of a Chinese green tea to offer a combination roasted nuts, soft smokiness, and a hop-like crispness when used in this lovely salad. It tastes delicious accompanied by an herbed focaccia or your rice sprinkled with black sesame seeds and julienned carrots.
YIELD: 2 generous servings.
2 tablespoons of Jade Snail
would be a fun alternative)
1 cup spring water
1 dozen shrimp, shells removed, deveined
1 bunch mixed greens (mesclun mix or spinach or your favorites)
1 teaspoon lemon zest for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped chives for garnish
Brew the tea for at least 20 minutes or until the pearls completely open.
Wash and dry the greens and place in a large bowl or platter.
Heat a large skillet over low heat then pour in the brewed tea and simmer the shrimp for 3 to 5 minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Drain thoroughly.
Scatter shrimp over the greens, garnish with chives and lemon zest and serve.
ALTERNATIVE: Tofu works great in this dish. Use firm tofu; drain of any liquid, then cut into 12 large cubes and cook as described above.
ADD TO SMOOTHIES
Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast anymore, but for anytime you’d like a pick-me-up with a mélange of wonderful flavors. This particular smoothie balances the bitterness of matcha with the sweetness of fresh fruits. We make it with plain, thick whole milk Greek yogurt, but feel free to use vegan alternatives like oat or almond milk. Maple syrup is a good alternative for honey to make the smoothie vegan.
3. Matcha Smoothie
YIELD: 1 larger or 2 small servings
1 heaping tablespoon matcha
(powdered tea from Gyokuro leaves)
1½ cups fresh or frozen mango
1 whole ripe banana
¼ cup Greek yogurt or ½ cup milk or dairy substitute like soy, oat or almond
1 tablespoon chia seeds, for protein
1 tablespoon or more honey (we love a mild honey like Tupelo
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ice cubes (enough to fill ½ cup)
Put all the ingredients into a blender and whirl until all the ingredients are incorporated. Taste. Add additional fruit or sweetener as desired. Serve immediately.