Tea is so versatile as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes. In our ‘Tea recipes‘ series, we are examining this versatility. While our last two recipes used black tea in sweet dishes for sorbet and panna cotta, today’s dish uses black tea as a marinade for chicken.
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How can you use tea in cooking?
Tea is actually very versatile and how you use it depends on the type of tea.
- Soups: black, green or rooibos tea can be substituted for or used with stock in stocks. I am planning to try rooibos tea with pumpkin soup. If it works, I’ll share the recipe!
- Spice: you can use the tea in a teabag like you would other herbs. I have found a recipe that uses mint tea in yoghurt as a condiment for Morrocan lamb that I can’t wait to try.
- Poaching: tea can be used as a poaching liquid, like green tea for chicken or fish. I am wondering about using tea to poach eggs – which tea should I use?
- For smoking: I have found a number of recipes for tea-smoked chicken, which look interesting. I don’t think I have ever smoked anything before, so it will be a good experience on that front, too.
- In desserts: tea is great when it is infused with fruit, such as out raspberry tea sorbet, or milk or cream, such as our English breakfast tea panna cotta. I have some other desserts in mind that I hope to share soon.
- In baking: Such as our maple ginger tarte tatin or our chai cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting. Often, the tea is used to infuse milk, cream or even butter or as an ingredient in a glaze. Almost any type of tea could be used, depending on the recipe.
- In drinks: ice tea is a staple beverage for many, but ice tea can be used for so many other drinks as well. My current favourite is peppermint iced tea in strawberry lemonade.
I can’t wait to try some of these and share them with you!
Tips for the perfect black tea chicken and eggplant stir-fry
Use your favourite black tea. I would avoid earl grey tea and instead use English breakfast or just a general black tea mix (such as PG Tips).
Make your tea strong. Soy and hoisin sauce can both be quite powerful tastes. In order to ensure that the tea taste still shines through once these two sauces have been added, make your tea strong and soak your chicken in it for at least 4-5 hours or overnight, if possible.
The preparation time for the recipe is deceptive as it includes the essential marinating time. If you discount this time, you prepare and cook the ingredients in the time that it takes to cook the rice.
Soak your eggplant in salt or salted water. Eggplant can be very bitter and salt or brine help draw out the bitterness. I generally slice the eggplant and then soak it in brine for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze out the brine before cooking; it will be dark brown. I use 3-5 teaspoons in enough water to cover the eggplant.
If possible, use low-sodium soy sauce. Too much salt will overpower the subtle note of the tea and the eggplant.
Make this black tea chicken and eggplant stir fry tonight!
This black tea chicken recipe is a very easy and quick recipe. It is the perfect foray into using tea in a savoury dish. If speed and simplicity or the intrigue of using tea don’t win you over, then make this dish for the taste. This black tea chicken and eggplant stir fry
Make this black tea chicken and eggplant stir fry tonight and try your hand at using tea in a savoury dish.
Black tea chicken and eggplant stir-fry
- Non-stick frypan with metal grip
- 450 g chicken breast
- 3 tea bags
- 2 tablespoons of soy or canola oil
- 1 shallot
- 1 eggplant
- 2 normal cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 cm cube of ginger
- 2 tablespoons hoisin paste
- 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce.
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup of basmati
- Finely-sliced spring onions and sesame seeds to garnish
- Boil water (approximately 2 cups) in a saucepan and allow the tea bags to seep for at least 5 minutes. Once the tea is sufficiently strong, remove the tea bags and allow the tea to cool.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in the cooled tea. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours or overnight.
- Quarter the eggplant lengthwise and then slice in pieces approximately 5 mm thick. Place in a salt bath for 10-15 minutes.
- Put the rice on to boil and cook as per your usual method.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frypan over high heat. Drain the chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Add to the frypan and fry, stirring frequently, until browned. This may be difficult to see due to the tea staining – approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Finely slice the shallot into thin slivers, grate the ginger and crush the garlic. Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan then add the shallot, ginger and garlic, stirring frequently.
- Remove the eggplant from the brine and squeeze out any liquid. Add it to the pan.
- Brown the eggplant with the onion garlic and ginger (about 3 minutes).
- Return the chicken to the pan and add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and pepper. Fry, stirring constantly until the soy and hoisin sauces are combined and the meat and vegetables are coated with the sauce.
- Serve immediately with rice. Garnish with spring onion and sesame seeds, if desired.