Healthy Asian cooking II : cooking with green tea

If you’ve ever found yourself eating from cardboard and plastic containers using flimsy wooden chopsticks, the phrase ‘healthy Asian cooking’ may sound a little odd at first. However – as with most types of cooking – doing it yourself can make a big, big difference.

This series looks at several basic concepts which will help you put simple, healthy meals on the table whilst keeping the cost down, and the kitchen time to a minimum. It’s very much a win-win-win situation.

Green teaI’ll keep my obsession with green tea for another article, but suffice to say I love the stuff. One excellent – although somewhat uncommon – way to include it in your diet is to cook with it.

If this sounds a little odd to you, just think of a teabag as a bag of spices. Before you can make best use of them, the following methods with help you extract the flavour :

Brewing tea bags for cooking : Essentially this is the same as brewing a really strong cup of tea. Place 2-4 cups in a warmed mug or pot, and cover with about a cup of boiling water. Leave it to stand for 5-7 minutes, and use the liquid in your recipes.

Using tea leaves for cooking : There are three ways in which loose tea leaves are generally used in the kitchen. When they are dry, they may be added as seasoning. When brewed, a strong cup of tea is made (similar to the bag approach above) – this makes a great base for sauces. After brewing, the infused leaves may be used as just another vegetable. Steam them and use them as any other leafy green.

NB : keep in mind that the more finely chopped the green tea is to begin with, the more flavour will often be extracted. The fine Gunpowder blends are usually good choices.

As will all things in the kitchen, just experiment. Have fun. You really can’t go too far wrong.

If you missed the first article in this series, head over to The Asian Diet Pyramid. It’s a great starting point.

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