3 tips for cooking with tea
It’s no secret that tea is revered in Mauritius, and not just fresh from the teapot either: our passion for tea extends to some of our most delicious local recipes.
Here, we reveal some of our favourite uses for the humble leaf, along with a few ideas for how you can create exciting tea-based dishes of your own.
Use tea as an infusion
If you follow the Mauritius tea route and eat at the Bois Cheri tea estate’s restaurant, you’ll probably notice the innovative use of tea in many items on the menu, such as the light and delicious tea sorbet served for dessert. To introduce similarly subtle flavours to your cooking, a tea infusion can be made by steeping the tea leaves of your choice in boiling water for anything from five minutes for a faint hint of flavour, to 30 minutes for a far stronger preparation. You can use this in place of water or other liquids in many recipes, such as jams and jellies, sauces, sorbets, marinades and dressings.
Use tea as a rub
If you use a tea infusion in something like a sorbet, you’ll find the tea flavour is quite dominant. But using tea in a rub for meat or fish has a different effect in that it helps to bring out the flavour of the meat itself, especially on grilled steaks or on meatier fish like tuna, halibut or monkfish.
Try making a rub from ground tea leaves and other spices popular in Mauritius, such as saffron, mustard seeds, turmeric, nutmeg or dried tamarind. Sprinkle onto the meat and spread with your fingers before cooking, as much as one day in advance if possible. This acts as a seasoning and will vastly intensify the flavours of the meat.
Use tea in a curry
Mauritian cuisine has a strong Indian influence and our legendary curries are full of flavour, with sauces that are rich and thick. So why not try making one with an extra special twist? Using brewed tea in place of stock will add a delicate tang to your dish, especially if you use a carefully chosen herbal tea such as ginger or cardamom. Alternatively, flavour your rice instead by boiling it in a tea such as green or jasmine.
Read more about Mauritius and the Story of Tea