Food for Thought: Soup for a Rainy Day With Jasmine Tea
On a rainy day it is just lovely to have something hot to eat. A bowl of soup may be just what you crave, but you may worry it will take too long to make. What if I told you that you can make a delicious soup in less than eight minutes using fresh and natural ingredients? Yes, it is possible.
The key to making a delicious soup is to have a good stock or broth, which can be made from chicken, beef, seafood or vegetables. It takes 30 minutes to two hours to make a good stock this way. But I have found another way to make stock in no time — using tea.
Cooking with tea is probably a new concept for most people, but it has been around for a while. I find tea easy to incorporate in many dishes, and it always brings wonderful results. Adding tea can give a fruity, smoky, spicy and aromatic flavor to tasteless water in no time.
Things get interesting when you consider there are many dishes that require stock, and you can simply replace it with tea of a certain flavor and aroma.
Imagine having simple steamed rice with the smoky flavor of lapsang souchong tea. How about risotto with green tea stock, served with grilled chicken and a touch of cream sauce? And it would be so simple to make rice pudding with vanilla tea infused with milk.
Or how about noodles made with ginger tea stock?
With an almost endless variety of teas available at your local supermarket, there is no end to how creative you can get experimenting with many different dishes from soup to ice cream.
For this week’s recipe I have prepared a soup made from jasmine tea, mushrooms, silken tofu and sugar-snap peas. It is easy to make and is super quick and delicious. Enjoy!
Jasmine tea soup with mushrooms, tofu and sugar-snap peas
This soup has great flavor. It is tangy and a bit spicy, thanks to added lime juice and freshly ground black pepper. I use button mushrooms for this recipe, but you can replace them with stronger flavored mushrooms such as enoki, shimeji or portobello. When using any type of mushrooms, be sure not to rinse them with water, as this will ruin the flavor. Instead, simply rub with a kitchen towl to remove any soil or dirt. You can also replace the sugar-snap peas with watercress or spinach. I use silken tofu because I like the soft and delicate texture, but you can replace it with any type of tofu you prefer. Serves four.
4 jasmine tea bags; 800 milliliters steaming hot water; 400 grams silken tofu, cut into 2 centimeter-by-4 centimeter cubes; 200 grams button mushrooms, cleaned with kitchen towel and thinly sliced; 3-4 tablespoons lime juice, salt and black pepper to taste.
1. Cut open the jasmine tea bags and pour the tea leaves into a jug. Add the hot water and leave to brew for 4-5 minutes. Strain into a medium-sized pot on the stove.
2. Add the lime juice and season with salt and black pepper.
3. Add the tofu cubes and cook for around 2-3 minutes. Be very careful not to break the soft and delicate tofu.
4. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the sugar-snap peas and cook for 30 seconds.
6. Divide the soup among four bowls. Serve immediately.