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Tea-Inspired Dishes

Cooking with Tea: Tea-Inspired Dishes

Read time: 3 Min
01st November 2022

Cooking with Tea: Tea-Inspired Dishes

In a world of spices and condiments, tea is an unlikely star; it is not the first thing that would come to your mind when reaching to season a spatchcock chicken, or for flavoring broths and stews, or even to put in cakes and scones. 

Sometimes the unlikeliest of heroes, the subtlest additions, are the ones that make the most lasting of impressions. 

Tea is just that. Tea has the ability to dignify and elevate a dish – any dish, any cuisine, any course. Tea, like most spices adds a sensorial aspect to food, but unlike other spices, there are different types and flavours of it which can enhance flavour and texture of food depending on which tea you decide to go with. 

Tea has a further functional aspect in helping to emulsify fats and help body functionality, especially in digestion. This is an herb which has a natural synergy with food so the possibilities of tea gastronomy and in using it when cooking, are endless! 

But with all things tiny but mighty, tea packs a punch so use it judiciously as its flavour contribution can be potent, just like many herbs. When cooking with tea, always aim to add new depth to flavour, and never to overwhelm the dish.

Treat it tenderly: over-brewing can bring out many bitter polyphenols, and tea can burn easily, especially when used as a smoking agent. 

Uses of Tea: Gastronomy 

Tea can function as a rub, marinade, smoking ingredient or can even be added directly to the cooking pot to impart dimension, depth and subtlety to familiar dishes. Many chefs claim that tea’s tannins help to tenderise meats in a manner similar to red wine. For instance, the Chinese have used Black Tea to flavour and colour hard-boiled eggs, or to smoke duck.

Tea in Appetisers, Mains & Savouries

Pique your guest’s palate with interesting flavours in tea-infused appetisers. Tea can function as a surprise element in food, especially the ones that come in uncommon flavours. As much as there is a tea for every mood, there is a tea for every occasion; tea in food can not only enhance flavour but also enhance an occasion – Roast Duck with Blueberry and Pomegranate Tea Sauce is one such example, perfect for elaborate dinners!

Tea for Dessert

Tea is a delightful addition to spice up and spruce up any dessert. From Matcha cheesecakes bursting with flavour to tea-inspired puddings, explore new flavours with common desserts with the surprise element of tea. Infusing Macarons with Green Tea is a refreshing take on a classic dessert while using Berry Tea gives your palate a taste of spring; Rose with French Vanilla Tea in Panna Cotta makes a delicious and fragrant dessert that would definitely have guests wanting more; and Earl Grey Tea makes for a flavourful addition to be speckled into cookies, scones and even cakes. 

Tea can further be used in dips, dressings, in jellies, jams, sorbets and sauces; and to drizzle over and enhance desserts and truly elevate them. 

Tea to Enhance Aroma

Tea can also be simply cooked in, to enhance aroma and sometimes even mask unpleasant odours that might arise from cooking certain foods. For instance, Jasmine Tea is often used to soften the inherent fishy scent in certain seafood dishes. Contemporary cooking sometimes employs Green Tea’s distinct taste to lend another flavour dimension to meats. Oolong Tea can be used in glazes; dried seafood can be rehydrated in Herbal and Green Teas; and fish can be poached in Black or Green Tea. 

With so many ways to use tea in cooking your food, it’s only fit-tea-ing that you find ways to use it in your dishes to elevate them and take them to all-new gastronomic heights!

Learn more about tea on the School of Tea E-Learning platform, visit


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