Sunday, July 31, 2005

IMBB 17 - tasteTea Bites

You know, I love IMBB's and I'm always looking forward to each theme everytime they're announced. Just participating in an IMBB helps me understand so much about that particular theme especially after researching and discussing with a few people. Then the round-ups are so wonderful as I get to see and learn from the other bloggers their methods, tips and ideas in handling that particular theme.

This month's theme, "tasteTea" which was introduced to us by Clement from A La Cuisine! really got me excited. Thanks to Clement for hosting and I love the idea of showcasing a few entries each day. Although I do drink tea on a daily basis, I have not thought much about using them in my food. I have only eaten once in a Chinese restaurant called Purple Cane which specialises in dishes made from tea but that was quite sometime back. All I remembered about that meal was the dishes were all light, refreshing and healthy. Thus I started hitting those recipe books and the internet to understand more about cooking with tea.

During my research, I had some clear parameters on what I wanted to cook, it had to showcase chinese tea since that is my heritage and it had to have a healthy element which was the basis of drinking tea. Thus I settled on my trio of teeny weeny tea bites which uses jasmine tea and green tea.

Tea Smoked Salmon Sushi

Tea smoking seems to be one of the popular methods used in tea cuisine. You can mix whatever you wish into the mixture to be heated up to create smoke. In this recipe, I adapted from
Flavours magazine, the salmon is smoked over a mixture of brown sugar, rice and jasmine tea. Alternatively you can use green tea mixed with orange peel or oolong tea leaves in your smoking mixture. Anything can be smoked; chicken, duck, poussin, tofu, prawns and salmon. I chose salmon as part of the theme for my sampler menu was seafood for that light taste.

The salmon smoked beautifully and smelt so wonderful. Smoking it gave the salmon a lovely brown tinge with the inside still pinkish. I decided to make some sushi with this salmon together with some suzuki seabass fillet sashimi and wakame. Instead of using the traditional nori (seaweed) wrapper for my sushi, I opted for slivers of daikon white radish that were a crunchy and fresh addition. This was topped with a touch of ebiko. The sushi tasted wonderful and the salmon was so full of flavour and tender. Splashie Boy loved the combination and even my kitty, Ally wanted a piece of it since it smelt so nice! (We had to fight her off from stealing the sushi during the photosession time)

Marinade
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (I used mirin since I did not have any rice wine)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2.5 cm younger ginger, grated
generous pinch of five spice powder
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, roughly crushed
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
salt to taste
4 x 150g skinless salmon fillet

Smoking Mixture
150g jasmine tea leaves
150g soft brown sugar
150g rice
Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the salmon fillets for four to six hours, turning at least once.

Mix the smoking ingredients together. Line a wok with two layers of foil and place the smoking mixture on top of the foil. Lightly oil a steel rack with holes and place it over the mixture. Cover the wok and heat it until it starts to smoke. This should take about ten minutes.

Place the fish on the rack. Replace the lid and wrap damp tea towels tightly around the edge to prevent smoke from escaping. Smoke the fish over a medium heat of ten to fifteen minutes or until cooked.

To assemble the sushi: slice slivers of the daikon white radish with a vegetable peeler. Cut a piece of the tea smoked salmon. Cut a piece of seabass fillet sashimi (I used ready cut sashimi so I rolled them instead since they were quite thinly sliced. If slicing them yourself, cut it into chunks) Assemble tea smoked salmon on top of the daikon radish, add a bit of wakame at it's side. Place the seabass fillet next to the salmon and roll up the radish. You can tie it up using a piece of chive (soft part). Sprinkle some ebiko on top of the sushi and serve.

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Baked Wakame Tart with Seared Green Tea Scallop

I was inspired to make a green tea salt after watching one of Jamie Oliver's television shows where he made some rosemary and lemon salt. Not sure which episode it was but I remember he had an Elvis Presley impersonator over for lunch so he made the salt to go with chips. Initially I thought of a green tea and ginger salt but after I mixed up the ingredients, I felt the ginger overpowered the delicate smell of the green tea. Instead, I re-mixed another batch just solely made from green tea and it was aromatic and light.

I had recently purchased a new cookbook,
Simple by Jimmy Chok so I borrowed the idea for a wakame tart from him. In his recipe, he uses puff pastry but in my version, I cheated a bit and used a ready made pastry case. This was baked in the oven until it was hot and crispy, then sprinkled with some wakame and topped with a seared salmon sprinkled with my green tea salt.

Green Tea Salt
Grind one teaspoon of green tea leaves till a powder in a mortar and pestle. Add slightly than one teaspoon of sea salt crystals to the green tea. Grind the sea salt and mix with the green tea.

Tart
Puff pastry, cut into a small circle about 2.5cm diameter
2 grams of wakame
1 scallop
Green tea salt as above
Cooking Oil

Bake the pastry in an preheated oven at 180C for about 4 minutes. (If using ready made pastry case, follow the manufacturer's instructions) Remove and top with wakame. Return to oven and bake further until pastry is cooked. Season the scallop with the green tea salt. Heat the oil and sear the scallop over high heat. Place scallop on top of tart, sprinkle with some green tea salt and garnish with some green tea before serving.

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Prawn, scallop and green tea wanton served with a broth perfumed with green tea

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The last item on my tea bites menu was this delicately flavoured wanton. Made from finely chopped scallops and prawns, I had added some chopped up green tea leaves which was inspired after reading about a similar dish in Cooking with Green Tea by Ying Chang Compestine. The wanton was loosely based on a recipe for a prawn and scallop ravioli from my Simple cookbook. The broth to accompany the wanton was also infused with some green tea leaves.

Wanton Filling
20 grams prawns, peeled and chopped
20 grams scallops, chopped
5 grams of shallots, peeled and chopped
Green tea leaves, infused and chopped
One stalk of chives, chopped finely
1 teaspoon of soy sauce

Wanton skins
Chicken broth made from chicken bones, peppercorns, bayleaves, carrot, onion and celery
Green tea

Make the chicken broth by boiling chicken bones, a few peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped stick of celery, 1 chopped onion for about two hours. Skim the surface of the stock to rid it of impurities. It is preferable you make the broth a day ahead so you the oil in the stock can rise and be removed easily. Before serving the broth with the wanton, add some green tea leaves into an infuser and boil it. This will give the broth a tinge of tea in it's taste.

Infuse dried green tea leaves for about five minutes. Remove the tea leaves which will unfurl into small buds or leaves. Chop them finely and mix them into the wanton mixture. Spoon a bit of the mixture on a round shaped wanton skin, fold them halfways to enclose the filling. Poach the wanton in some simmering salted water and scoop out onto a bowl or a plate. Add a bit of the infused chicken broth on top and serve with a garnishing of green tea leaves.

16 comments:

Kevin said...

boo_licious,

Thanks for stopping by my blog, the pineapple complemented the salmon delightfully.

Your scallops look particularly good and I'd try them, except I refuse to deal with the sugar mess again.

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

What an incredible collection of dishes! I love the idea of the green tea salt... everything looks and sounds great though. Well done!

FoodNinja said...

This looks fantastic.. Tea time has never been so exciting ... Great job on the sushi!

Makan Kings said...

boo,

Nice!!! Looks like your quite the accomplished cook!

Cheers,
-Makan Kings-

Santos said...

it's so boo_tiful! really a lovely use of tea all around.

Michèle said...

Hi, Im so impressed! all the dishes look wonderful. I love the idea of the green tea salt, also because its something very simple to make :) Your creations with tea are definitely inspiring!

Grommie said...

The sushi looks especially amazing. I think, like kitty, you would have had to fight me off during photo time.

Thanks for dropping by my blog also!

laughing snail said...

The plethora of fabulous tea inspired recipes look amazing!!

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

boo_licious said...

kevin - I would never have thought of using pineapple juice for my marinade and I love pineapple so that salsa looks like it can fit in the sushi!

augustusgloop - you must be a roald dahl fan with that nickname. The food was super yum especially the sushi which got two thumbs up from Splashie Boy.

templar - thanks for the nice compliments.

makan king - must cook a bit as I cannot keep eating out all the time.

santos - thanks so much, I love your whimsical cotton candy too especially the pink rose buds.

michele - thanks and you get well as I want to hear about your trip.

grommie - kitty and you have good taste, my favourite was the sushi too. Your teapot cake is really one of the kind.

laughing snail - I love your jelly. Just wonderful for this super hot weather that we are experiencing now.

Piggy said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog!

What a wonderful display of dishes with tea as ingredient! Yummy!

Nic said...

Wonderful array of dishes! I love that tart.

boo_licious said...

piggy - You're welcome and I love your white glutinous rice balls. Reminds me of snowballs.

nic - Thanks for the compliments. Your bread looks wonderful with those apples peeking out.

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

I love the writings, I love the food!

I have a packet of frozen scallops in the fridge and not sure what to do with it. Looking at yours, I don't think I can achieve something like that. Yours look so professional!

boo_licious said...

lilian - Thanks for the nice compliments. I love your blog too.

Quite easy to achieve, just defrost your scallops, sear them. Buy some pastry case and wakame in supermarket and just assemble. Eat and be totally satisfied. The salt, just follow instructions, I used those old fashioned mortar and pestle to crush it.

linda said...

These all look wonderful, but I am especially intrigued by the green tea salt. Beautiful dishes and I plan to do some experimenting based on your inspiration.

boo_licious said...

Thanks Linda, glad that you're going to experiment as cooking with tea is real fun.

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