Serving and enjoying hot tea is a daily ritual in many countries. Most Brits wouldn’t dream of skipping their 4 p.m. cuppa. Good for them, because black tea contains the FoodTrient catechins, as well as flavonoids, theaflavins, and magnesium. These antioxidants help reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. They protect against certain cancers, help prevent dental cavities, and enhance weight loss by stimulating metabolism. The compounds in black tea also improve blood flow (by strengthening blood-vessel walls), lower blood pressure, and promote artery health while reducing the risk of blood clots. The caffeine in black tea boosts energy and improves concentration.
The Japanese tea ceremony, or The Way of Tea, is a ritual involving powdered green tea (matcha) that dates back over a thousand years. Green tea has all the antioxidant power of black tea with a little less caffeine. Green tea isn’t fermented like black tea, so it has all the benefits of black tea, plus it shields against environmental toxins.
I love to cook with tea. In my cookbook is my recipe for Gingerroot Black Tea. Gingerroot provides protection from inflammation to ease arthritis and allergy symptoms. I also like to boil my soba or udon noodles in green tea so that they soak up all that antioxidant power (see my recipe for Green Tea Noodles with Edamame).
I’m not the only person who likes cooking with tea. Eric R. Braverman, M.D., author of Younger You, extols green and black tea for their brain-boosting power. In his latest book, Younger (Thinner) You Diet, Dr. Braverman recommends drinking tea with every meal. He loves that tea has absolutely no calories “and can stimulate digestion, cleanse the body, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, and give you lots of energy.”
Dr. Braverman’s book includes a recipe for Jasmine Tea-Infused Brown Rice with Sweet Peas and Duck. He gave me permission to give this recipe to you.
Jasmine Tea-Infused Brown Rice with Sweet Peas and Duck
Serves 8, 400 calories per serving
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup brewed jasmine tea
¼ cup safflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound duck breast, cut into thin strips
2 cups brown rice
2 cups sweet peas
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon coriander
2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into thin strips
- Combine the chicken broth and tea in a large pot and heat until boiling
- In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion starts to turn golden. Add duck breast and sauté until firm. Set aside.
- Add the rice to the chicken-tea broth and reduce heat. Cover and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes.
- Stir in the peas, oregano, coriander, and basil and mix until combined well. Divide into four portions and top with duck breast.