Monday, 14 November 2011

The Daring Kitchen: Cooking with Tea

Well. This post is going to be totally crap because I not only did a really half-arsed job of the recipe (i.e. I read it two weeks prior to cooking it and then sort of... guessed what was in it!) but I also cooked it in one helluva rush (after the brownies - yet to post on that - but before the cupcakes) on my way out the door to the movies to see The Cup (great movie, btw), but then the only photo I was able to take of it was with my phone, under terrible lighting conditions (fluorescent lights plus the light of an LED headtorch because I realised that there wasn't enough light for my phone to cope!). I was hungry and determined not to miss another Daring Kitchen challenge so I sort of threw it all together. And then I ate it. And then I powerwalked to the movies (cos I'm not allowed to run alone, but frankly, a seriously determined powerwalk coupled with the stress of running in late was probably worse for the ol' ticker than actually jogging would have been. I think my boobs prefer me to powerwalk, though... just sayin'!), and then I had to sit in the cinema, dripping with sweat with a stitch from eating my soup too fast and then powerwalking. Luckily I remembered to bring a jumper, otherwise I would have frozen to death as my sweat evaporated.

I know, you all loved that visual. You're welcome :)

Also, three cheers for sentence structure!

Aaaaaaaaanyway, Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry

So... I guess, first up I'll tell you what I did, and then I'll tell you what I was supposed to do!

2 green teabags
A kettle full of boiling water (filtered - I cooked it in Adelaide and didn't think the natural tap water would do much to improve the taste of the soup!)
A 2cm chunk of ginger from my freezer that had been thawed, and was oozing liquid all over the place and not very aesthetically pleasing and kind of rubbery in texture, but the flavour of which was okay *draws breath*, kind of peeled (= the skin hacked off) and chopped into tiny little pieces
Beef, finely sliced (I wanted to use a decent steak but couldn't find it in a small enough quantity, so ended up finely slicing gravy beef, which is why it turned out tough, but I'm totally okay with that!)
Bunch of bok choy, bottom cut off, sliced in half, rinsed
Small packet of rice vermicelli
Chinese five spice

So I boiled the kettle, soaked the tea in the hot water in a saucepan until I had a saucepan of green tea, removed the teabags, put the saucepan on the heat, added the ginger and brought it to the boil, then threw in the beef and the bok choy and topped up the water so the bok choy was mostly covered.

I boiled it until the bok choy was done but still a bit crispy, cos that's how I like it. Then I put half the packet of rice vermicelli in a large-ish serving (soup) bowl and added about half the soup. Rice vermicelli, you see, basically cooks on its own in a minute or two when you pour boiling liquid over it. I kept the other half for the following night's dinner, which I then captured in a crappy photo on my phone, which isn't part of this post because my normal laptop is at the doctor's (it gave me the Blue Screen of Death the other day) and I can't make my phone synchronise with either my old laptop or my mum's. Boo. Don't worry, you're not missing out - it's a super-duper-crappy photo.

In hindsight, it needed soy sauce. Or possibly a wee pinch of stock powder And maybe a little chilli. But I must say that I'm a little bit curious and quite impressed at how quick and easy this was, and also quite liked the unaccustomed flavour of the green tea - I will definitely be trying to make variations of this in the future. Thanks for the inspiration, Sarah!

So, anyway...


Servings: 4
4 green tea teabags, or 1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) (3 gm) green tea leaves
1¼ inches (3 cm) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5 oz (140 gm) thick or thin egg noodles
10 oz (280 gm) firm tofu, drained and cubed
5 oz (140 gm) bok choy or spring greens, shredded
1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) red or white miso paste
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) sesame oil
6 scallions (also called spring onion or green onion), trimmed and sliced
a handful of shiso (Japanese basil or perilla) or mustard cress, or other micro greens, to garnish
  1. Place 6 cup (1½ litre) water in a pan with the green tea bags or leaves and the ginger slices. Heat until the water is just below boiling and bubbles start to form.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for four minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags or strain the liquid to remove the tea leaves. Return the ginger slices to the liquid and reserve.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions in a separate pan.
  5. Return the tea liquid to the heat and add the tofu, bok choy
  6. Scoop out some liquid to a small bowl and mix in the miso paste. Then return the liquid to the pan.
  7. Add the sesame oil and scallions. Spoon into bowls and garnish with the shiso, cress, or greens.
Having just read over this recipe, it is far superior to the one I whipped up and and I can imagine how awesome it would taste. Although, to make it boy-friendly you would probably replace the tofu with either thinly-sliced steak or maybe dumplings of some sort. And  you may consider frying the steak first and dumping it in at the last possible minute. Just a thought! I recommend trying the recipe that I was supposed to cook and not the one I actually did. Watch this space for a new and improved version...

Green Tea, Tofu, and Noodle Soup


  1. Haha, I think you did splendidly, even after all of that! It doesn't always have to be perfect, with perfect photos, it just has to be real, which this is! I love it! Great job!

  2. Looks tasty! (even if it does have tofu)

  3. I don't know, what you made sounds pretty tasty to me. Mine was a short-notice revision with what I had on hand as well.

  4. This post made me chuckle - glad I'm not the only one who frequently cooks in chaos!

  5. Still sounds pretty great to me. If anything doesn't turn out quite the way I like in my kitchen, I just turn to Sriracha. Fixes most things :)

  6. I think that's half the fun of cooking - throwing in what seems right at the time. I'm glad there are more like me out there. Thanks for stopping by :)


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