When using tea for cooking or baking, its important to know how to brew the tea. The simplest way to brew tea for cooking is to pour good quality, fresh water on the tea leaves and let it brew at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. This will guarantee that the tea is not astringent or bitter. It’s best to use fresh tea leaves instead of reusing brewed tea, as the brewed tea will be too strong or bitter when cooked with.
Some ways to use brewed tea is as a braising liquid, a seasoning for marinades, for tenderising meat or as the base for a sauce. Tea when combined with fruit juices add depth to the flavour. Here is a simple recipe of a braised chicken using a loose leaf black tea. We used the Glendale Nilgiri Black tea because of its delicate jasmine flavours which will lift the flavours of this simple chicken recipe.
- 4 T Glendale Nilgiri Black Tea
- 2 quarts spring water
- fruity olive oil, enough to coat pan for searing
- 4 cloves garlic smashed then finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions, about one large onion
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup stewed tomatoes or fresh chopped tomatoes
- 2 1/2 lb. chicken
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Prepare tea by brewing it in very cool water (about 170 degrees F.) for about 5-7 minutes
- sieve out the leaves and set aside the liquid.
- Sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil until softened.
- Add sugar and tomatoes and stir until sugar dissolves.
- To braise, place the chicken in a large pan (or Dutch oven) and season with salt and pepper. Cover with the sautéed mixture.
- Add the brewed tea then bake, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 1 to 1.5 hours and tests done by thermometer at 164 degrees F.
Braising recipe© by Robert Wemischner, from the book Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen, periplus editions.