Tea can be drunk, but it can also be eaten. In Yunnan, Hangzhou and Mount Wuyi, where the best teas are grown, the local restaurants serve tea banquets using a variety of tea in the food.
Here are a couple of recipes for you to try. The first is a tea-smoked duck that is enticingly fragrant, and is a lovely appetizer chased down with - what else but - a cup of hot, steaming tea. The Longjing Crystal Prawns is a Hangzhou specialty, and it is a more delicate dish compared to the robustness of the smoked duck. Still, it is an equally appealing dish, especially when the prawns are in season, sweet and succulent.
Recipe | Longjing Crystal Prawns
Ingredients (serves 4):
500 g fresh medium prawns (about 16)
1 tbsp Chinese white wine or baijiu
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp corn starch
2 tbsp longjing tea leaves, steeped in 1 cup hot water
1. Pour hot water over longjing tea leaves and allow to steep until leaves are revived and plumped up.
2. Peel and wash prawns. Rinse in very cold water repeatedly until prawn flesh turn clear.
3. Marinate prawns in the sugar, salt and corn starch and baijiu.
4. Heat up a generous scoop of oil until smoking. Quickly run the prawns through the oil and drain immediately, all of five seconds. Drain the oil and place
wok back on the fire.
5. Add prawns, tea leaves and a little tea and toss well to mix. Finally, drizzle more white wine along the side of the wok to add more aroma. Plate and
garnish with more tea leaves.
Recipe | Tea-Smoked Duck
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 large duck - about 1.5 to 2 kg
1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, pounded together
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp tea leaves (green tea or pu'er tea)
3 tbsp rock sugar, crushed
3 tbsp raw rice
1. Remove duck breasts and legs. Skin and trim fat from rest of duck and chop into chunks. Reserve for soup or some other use.
2. Wash and dry duck breast and legs thoroughly and rub with Sichuan pepper and salt mixture. Wash hands well after this and do not rub your eyes.
3. Marinate duck meat, covered, for at least an hour, preferably overnight for the best flavor.
4. Line bottom of a sturdy large wok with aluminum foil. Place tea leaves, rice and sugar at the bottom.
5. Place duck pieces on a rack on top of tea mixture. Start the fire and watch carefully. When mixture begins to smoke, cover wok tightly for about 15
minutes. Switch off heat and let it continue to smoke for another 10 minutes.
6. Remove duck pieces, sear skin over high heat in a non-stick pan to crisp, slice and serve with vegetables and rice.
Recipe | Green Tea and Tomato Soup
Green tea and tomato soup is one of the easiest tea dishes to cook. All you need to prepare is 50 to 150 grams of tomatoes and 1 to 1.5 grams of green tea,
depending on how many people are dining.
1. Peel tomato pieces, chop into chunks and add to pot. Stir.
2. Add the green tea and mix it with the tomato.
3. Add 400 milliliters of boiling water.
4. When the tea leaves are swollen, the dish is done. Easy it is, and healthy it will be, since it functions to tackle high blood pressure, bleeding gums and
low appetite. And really, all you need to make it is a kettle.