[ Cooking with Tea - More Than Just Hot Water ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
More than just Hotwater Header Subtitle
A fragrant cup of hot tea is a wonderful accompaniment to freshly baked cookies, muffins or scones. But did you know that you can bake tea leaves into your favorite treats? That's right – you can sip your tea and eat it too.

Cooking with tea isn't limited to baked goods. Tea, whether powdered or prepared as an infusion, lends flavor to all sorts of foods, including pudding, rice, pasta, sauces, fish, chicken, pork and even steak. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

[ Cooking with Tea - Of Loaves and Leaves ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

of loaves and leaves

When it comes to baking, consider using a tea with depth, such as Formosa oolong from Taiwan, which is noted for its nutty, toasty flavor. Another good choice for baking is chai, such as our Herbal Chocolate Chai, or the Up 'n Atom chai blend from Santa Cruz. For a mildly sweet flavor with floral or fruity notes, try one of our many herbal tea blends, like Citrus Chamomile, Hibiscus Mint or Passionberry.

Grind the loose tea in a spice grinder until powdered and use 2 tablespoons for each batch of dough. Because tea absorbs liquid, reduce the amount of flour called for in the recipe by 2 tablespoons. Apply this general rule when making cookies, quick breads, muffins, biscuits and scones.

[ bread and tea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Cooking with Tea - Pasta Primer ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

pasta primer

In Japan, cold udon noodles cooked in tea is a popular appetizer or light lunch, although it can also be fortified with chopped vegetables and firm tofu and served for dinner. Ideal teas for this dish are green teas, such as Sencha, Gunpowder and Young Hyson. If you prefer an earthy but refreshing taste, try Moroccan Mint, a combination of gunpowder tea and peppermint. In any case, serve noodles with soy sauce and sesame oil on the side for dipping or tossing.

For other pasta dishes, cook the noodles in an infusion of 2 quarts water and 2 or 3 tablespoons of loose tea (strain off the tea leaves or not, it’s up to you). Alternatively, you can mix a small amount of lightly ground tea with butter or olive oil and toss with cooked pasta.

[ pasta and tea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Cooking with Tea - It's in the Rub ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

it's in the rub

Combine ground tea leaves with other herbs and spices and use as a dry rub for roasted, grilled or braised meats. The usual suspects for dry rubs include brown sugar, sea salt, black pepper, onion and garlic granules, paprika, thyme, rosemary and lemon peel. Get creative! Try adding a pinch of one or more of the following: lemon verbena, lemon balm, ginger, cumin, orange peel, chili powder, allspice, cinnamon or cloves. For the tea, consider a bold flavored black tea or velvety rooibos.

Once you discover the perfect combination for each dry rub, be sure to write down the herbs and spices used, as well as their concentration in the recipe. Otherwise, the recipe and its wow factor may be lost with the passage of time. Besides, your custom creations may become culinary heirlooms!

[ bread and tea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Cooking with Tea - Tea Accents in All Dishes ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

dinner to a tea

Tea can flavor the main event at dinner, as well as vegetables and various side dishes -- without the need to add salt or fat. For instance, just as you might use tea-infused water to cook pasta, you can use infusions to cook rice, quinoa and other grains, as well as garden green beans, fresh asparagus and other raw vegetables. Similarly, tea-infused milk or cream may be used to make béchamel and other cream-style sauces for pot pies, au gratin potatoes, cream soups and creamed vegetables. For these dishes, use a savory flavored tea like genmaicha, which is a blend of green tea and puffed rice and corn.

What about dessert, you ask? You bet! Tea-infused coconut milk or almond milk is a great start to homemade ice cream, pudding and crème brûlée. For these and other sweet treats, select single herbs to infuse or herbal tea blends with sweet, floral notes. Suggested ingredients include lavender, rose petals, cornflowers, bergamot (or Earl Grey), chamomile, Gold Rush Tea and Tropical Fruit Blend.

[ pasta and tea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

Sample Tea Type Pairings

Sample Recipes for Cooking with Tea