Dragon Well Shrimp is a simple traditional Chinese dish that incorporates the world famous Dragon Well Tea. This recipe originates from the same region as Dragon Well tea, the Hangzhou province of China. It is easy to make and can actually be made with other teas as well.
Dragon Well Shrimp Ingredients
1 pd of shrimp (Any size is fine. Traditionally, these would be small rock shrimp)
1 tbsp Chinese Rice Wine (can be substituted with dry white wine, sake, or chicken/vegetable stock)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of Dragon Well tea
Salt to taste
Dragon Well Shrimp Instructions
Start by peeling and deveining the shrimp and putting them into a small bowl. Mix the Chinese rice wine, white pepper and corn starch. Pour over the shrimp and put into the refrigerator for 15 minutes. While the shrimp is in the refrigerator, brew the tea. Heat the water to 175°F (If you are working with a kettle, bring it up to a boil and then pour out 3/4 of a cup of water and allow to cool 3 minutes). Steep the tea in the water for 4 minutes and strain out the leaves. Do not through out the leaves as you will be cooking with them. Have a plate nearby the stove
Steeped Dragon Well for Shrimp
Heat the oil in a large flat pan and put in the shrimp. You will want to spread out the shrimp in the pan so they do not overlap to ensure even cooking. You will want to pour out any leftover marinade in the bowl. As the shrimp cook, pour in the tea and stir in the tea leaves. The tea and marinade should thicken into a sauce. Turn the shrimp about 2 minutes into cooking. After 4 minutes, if your sauce is not fully thick, remove the shrimp to a plate and continue cooking the sauce until it thickens. Then turn off the heat and put back in the shrimp. Taste the sauce and add salt to your taste.
The tea leaves will soften and be very easy to eat with the shrimp. Other green and white teas can be used for this recipe. Black and oolong teas will be much tougher and are not ideal for this unless you chop the leaves after brewing. This is a fun way to appreciate tea.
Tea infused simple syrup is an easy way to incorporate tea into a wide variety of recipes and its simple to make. So skip the store bought stuff and experiment with your own. A typical simple syrup is just equal parts water and sugar. The water is heated to the point of dissolving the sugar and then removed from the heat to cool.
Tea Infused Simple Syrup
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 grams (roughly 2 Tbsp) Tea
Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat. Put in the tea leaves to steep for 10 minutes. Strain off the leaves and measure out 1 cup of remaining liquid. If you are short because the tea leaves absorbed more than 1/4 cup, add more water to get you to 1 cup of liquid. Put this back on the stove top and add the 1 cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. If you do this immediately after steeping, you will not need to return the tea to a boil as it will be hot enough on medium heat to dissolve the sugar quickly. Allow the simple syrup to cool and then put in the refrigerator if not using immediately. Simple syrup generally has a shelf life of 1 month in the refrigerator.
Tea Infused Simple Syrup – Uses
Lemonade – This favorite summer time drink requires a fair amount of sugar to keep it from being too puckering. A tea infused simple syrup is a great way to add an unexpected twist to the lemonade. Moroccan Mint or Mint Fields impart a subtle mint flavor to your lemonade, while using Pear Raspberry Green gives it a nice raspberry twist.
Cocktails/Mocktails – Many cocktails call for simple syrup to help cut the edge off the alcohol in the beverage. If the cocktail, has a clear alcohol base like gin, vodka or rum, the flavor of the tea will be very evident. This allows you to use green tea simple syrups using Sencha or Jasmine Green. With barrel aged alcohols, you can have fun with Puerh and your stronger black teas from Assam.
Coffee – Yes, you read that correctly. Some spicy teas like Ginger Honeybush and Masala Chai add a fun twist to the cup of coffee.
There are countless ways to use simple syrup, so experiment and enjoy!
Tea makes an easy and wonderful accompaniment to your pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It will help you digest everything you ate for the day and compliment one of the best courses. Below we highlight 3 teas to pair with pumpkin pie and even suggest a few for apple or cherry pie. Don’t worry, we have even put in a caffeine free option.
Jasmine green tea is a unique and amazing pairing with pumpkin pie. The floral notes of the tea blend with the sweetness and spicing of pumpkin pie. They compliment each other nicely. Cherry and Apple pie also go nicely with this tea.
Lapsang Souchong is another unique tea that pairs well with pumpkin pie. The smokiness of the tea tones down the sweetness of the pie while not overpowering the spiciness. The bold flavors and mouth feel of Pumpkin pie is what makes this a nice pairing. Other fruit pies maybe overpowered by this tea.
If you are not feeling adventurous, Nilgiri tea makes a perfect companion since it is both floral yet strong enough to hold its flavor with pumpkin pie. This beautiful black tea from southern India allows you to serve something unique without straying too far out of guests comfort zones.
Ginger Honeybush when drunk with Pumpkin pie creates a lemon citrus flavor when combined in your mouth that is also smooth. This surprising combination adds an unexpected twist to the Pumpkin pie that is refreshing. If this is too adventurous, Rooibos is just fine.
Don’t forget you can pair tea with other courses on your Thanksgiving menu. The idea is that the tea and food item compliment each other without having one flavor over power the other. You can find some ideas in our post on 3 unusual tea and food pairings.
October brings us Halloween and all things sweet and green slime colored. So in the spirit of having something tea flavored that still fits the bill for a Halloween treat to enjoy at home, in comes Matcha Popcorn. This fun recipe is easy to make and we even added some chocolate drizzle.
Matcha Popcorn – Ingredients
1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter for pan
2 Tablespoons for unsalted butter for matcha sauce
1 tsp of Matcha powder
Salt and Sugar to taste – 1/4 tsp of each was our preference
Matcha Popcorn – Instructions
Start by heating the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. A dutch oven is perfect but you can also use a 4 quart pan. You need to have the lid for the pan and oven mitts near by as you will be shaking the pan. Measure out the popcorn and have it handy to pour in.
While the butter is melting, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter. Allow to cool on the counter while the popcorn pops.
Once your butter on the stove has melted drop in the kernels and put on the lid and pick up the pan and shake it around. You are trying to coat all the kernels with the butter. Put the pan back on high heat and await the popping. While it pops, you will need to periodically shake the pan to distribute the kernels. You may want to crack the lid a little to allow out steam and reduce the likelihood of burning the popcorn. Once the popping reduced to less than 3 pops in 5 seconds, pull from the heat and remove the lid. Pour the popcorn out into a large bowl.
Stir the matcha and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar and salt into the butter. You are looking to smooth out the matcha, no clumps. Once smooth, pour over the popcorn and stir the popcorn. The matcha will transfer to the other popcorn kernels. Have a taste and then sprinkle on more salt and/or sugar to taste.
You can also do this with microwave popcorn. If you are feeling industrious and have a spice grinder, you can grind down your favorite tea to a powder and substitute it for the matcha. It will give you an entirely different flavor of popcorn.
It is possible to retrain your taste buds to enjoy tea without milk or sugar. You are not so much retraining your taste buds but your brain. How people enjoy food is a rather complex system that scientists are still studying to understand, but there is a general consensus that flavor preferences are built by what is consumed routinely. So if you are wanting to remove that milk and sugar from your tea or expand your tea habit into new areas like puerh or green tea, here are 3 tips to help you in that process.
Slowly remove the milk and sugar from your tea. This includes stevia and other sugar substitutes. If you taper it down over time, your brain won’t reject the change. Try reducing the milk and sugar by half what you normally put in the first week. Then reduce by half the following week and follow the same pattern until you are at zero. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ran a study in 2016 that had half the participants reduce their sugar intake and then judge the sweetness of certain foods before and after 3 months of a reduced sugar diet. It was not a surprise that the group found certain foods more sweet after reducing their sugar intake. Our brains are very good to adapting to what we do, if we constantly consume sugar the brain stops consciously registering the sweetness. So we consume more sugar to get the sweetness we think we want. This particular study used 3 months, but other studies on taste have indicated that the taste preferences reset anywhere between 3-6 weeks.
Keep trying that new tea. It will take between 5-10 tastes to adjust. Yes, new flavors are learned. So a single sip will not work, it requires repeated consumption to register the new flavor with your brain. You need to think when consuming this new flavor. What do you like? What is different? Why is it different? Is different good or bad? This practice is termed mindful eating. If practiced enough you will enjoy new foods more.
Pair that new tea with something you love. If you are really serious about bringing green tea into your diet but are having trouble with the flavor, drink that tea while eating something you like. This is called associative conditioning. Our brains will associate the new flavor with the one you already like and condition you to enjoy that new flavor more than if you consumed it alone. You will need to do this more than once for it to work, usually about 4 or 5 times. This trick also works really well when introducing new foods to children.
Enjoy trying new tea and retraining your taste buds!