Cooking with green tea imparts its delicate flavour and anti-oxidant properties ——-without the astringent aftertaste.
Drinking green tea has proven health benefits, given that it’s packed with anti-oxidants that strengthen the immune system. Not many love the taste though. As Uddipan Chakravarthy, Executive Chef, Vivanta By Taj, Yeshwantpur, puts it, “It’s more of an acquired taste to which the Indian palate is slowly getting used to”. However, an easier way of consuming green tea is ———— TO COOK WITH IT.
Thus, you still reap the benefits of green tea, while not having to deal with its slightly sharp and bitter aftertaste. Chakravarthy says, “The trick to using green tea, in cooking, is NOT TO OVER-BREW IT.” Green Tea powder, a novelty item, is found in certain gourmet stores in the city, and can be used to drink as a brew or in cooking. For the best flavour, Chef recommends using ‘loose tea’ instead of ‘tea bags’.
MATCHA CHOCOLATE OPERA CAKE
Ingredients : (For Matcha Sponge Cake ) 3 egg yolks, 40 grams sugar, 40 grams almond powder, vanilla essence, 3 egg whites, 40 grams sugar, 40 grams flour , 8 grams Matcha green tea powder. (Chocolate cream): 100 grams cream, 80 grams black chocolate. (Matcha syrup) : 100 ml water, 20 grams sugar, 1tsp Matcha green tea powder.
Method : (1) Mix egg yolks and sugar. Add almond powder and vanilla essence and mix well. (2) Make a meringue with egg whites and sugar. (3) Add one-third of the meringue into the mixture and add the flour and mix it. Add the remaining meringue and mix again. (4) Bake the mixture in the oven at 200 degrees C for 8 minutes. (5) Prepare Matcha cream. Boil the cream and melt chocolate in it. Whip the cream and ad Matcha. (6) Prepare chocolate cream in the same way. (7) Prepare Matcha syrup. Heat water and add sugar and Matcha green tea and mix well. (8) Remove the sponge cake from oven and divide into three equal parts and moisten with syrup. (9) Assemble the cake in the following order : first, place one square of sponge cake on the baking sheet and moisten it gently with Matcha syrup. Next, put chocolate cream on. Put another square of sponge cake on and put the Matcha cream on top. Repeat with another layer of sponge cake. (10) Finally, melt some black chocolate and pour over on cake. (prep : 20 minutes, Cook : 15 minutes ——- serves 5-6 persons) –
GREEN TEA-SMOKED SALMON
Ingredients : 200 grams salmon, 5 grams green tea, 4 grams soya sauce, 4 grams lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, 2 grams Basmati rice, 1-2 sticks of lemongrass, a bunch of Thai basil and coriander leaves.
Method : Marinate the salmon with soya sauce, lemon juice and black pepper. Chargrill salmon(on BBQ or a grill pan on the stovetop) till it’s 80% cooked. (2mins each side). Next up, you need to smoke the salmon with green tea powder, lemongrass and rice. Usually a smoker is used. If that’s not available, you can use a wok. Mix the tea powder with rice and lemongrass in the wok. Heat till it smokes. Place a rack on the wok and put the salmon on it and cover with a lid. In five minutes, your dish should be ready. Serve garnished with basil and coriander. (prep : 20mins, cook : 5mins —— serves 2)
TEA-SMOKED CHICKEN WINGS
Ingredients : 16 chicken wings, 3 cloves of garlic(chopped), 1tsp grated fresh peeled ginger root, 1tbsp honey, 3/4cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup cream sherry liqueur, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1cup loose-leaf tea, sesame seeds as garnish.
Method : Cut wing tip of drumstick-end of wing an slice through the wings. Wash and pat dry. In blender, place chopped garlic, grated ginger root, honey, soy sauce and sherry and process for only 20secs. Pour marinade into a 9″ by 13″ baking pan and coat the chicken wings. Cover pan and refrigerate for at least two hours, rotating wings at least once. Line a heavy cast iron or steel roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminium foil and sprinkle the sugar and tea on the foil. Place a wire rack on the skillet, and arrange the chicken wings on top. Cover with lid or more aluminium and turn the burner onto high, cooking chicken for 30mins. Resist the urge to lift lid off the pan, and keep chicken covered for 20 more minutes. To make their appearance browned or crisper, coat with a little sesame oil and put in a pre-heated 450 degrees oven for about 5mins. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds atop. Tastes great with peanut or mustard sauce. (prep : 3 hours, cook : 30mins, serves 6-8)
——– Chefs Ramasamy Selvaraju, Zhang Hao, Uddipan Chakravarthy.