I’m having a tea party…

….and we are serving fried rice. With a side of beer. Last time, I cooked with beer. Today, we drink the beer and cook with tea.

I think I like this method better.

I’m not really a tea drinker. I'm a coffee girl.

Except green tea with sushi… (and really....it just gets cold because the mug is always too hot to touch and by the time its cool enough to drink, I’m halfway through a large Kirin so I figure I've long offset any benefit from cold green tea)

It was about six months ago when I read an article in Sunset magazine about using tea in cooking. This is a great magazine and even greater if you reside anywhere in the Pacific Northwest of this continent. I had two mutually exclusive, simultaneous reactions to the cooking method.  First, wow what an innovative idea and second, huh...kinda makes sense.

I totally understand using stock in place of water. No brainer. In rice, quinoa, couscous, blanching vegs,  (rare now that we roast everything).  In fact, I can’t think of much I “boil” that would use water over stock. (ironic in that I insisted on a pot filler above my stove. Sorry hun) I'd just never considered tea.

So the article, and subsequent recipes, all made dishes steeped somehow in tea. I tore it out and it's been in my pile of “hurry up and make this today” recipes. Six months later I got around to it. Its simplicity is in part what makes it so brilliant.

Boil water, steep tea, add food.

This particular recipe was made with a rooibos tea and a really short, wild and nutty rice. (ironically also describes the girlfriend with whom I just vacay'd with) I did not make the tea very strong for fear of overpowering, but next time I would definitely steep it longer.  There are limitless possibilities depending on the flavours you are looking to build.  Rooibos had a nice spice element I thought would work well with the salty soy and nutty sesame. I think Lavender or Chamomile would be nice with a leafy green quinoa salad. And of course Jasmine tea would enhance any old plain white rice.

Beyond the tea, the fried rice was pretty standard. Little LOVES this dish so it’s a nice go to during the week. I toss it with onions, carrots, garlics, celeries and edamames. I always fry the egg on the side and then toss it in. I actually have no idea how to authentically make fried rice.   My goodness, I don’t even use/own a wok (dear santa...). So I may be massacring it or at the very least not even remotely close to achieving the traditional dish potential. Doesn't matter, it still tasted great. (most does with a side of beer) Probably something I should add to "The List".

So, in hindsight, maybe this isn’t 'fried rice'.  Its tea-steeped rice, tossed in a sauté pan with egg and veggies.

Either way it produces clean plates at this house….

… and its how I prefer my tea.

Rooibos Stir Fried Rice

1 cup wild rice 2 cups water 2 rooibos teabags (I would consider using 3 or 4 next time) 1 T Sesame Oil 1 T Olive Oil 1 medium onion, diced fine 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 cup peas (frozen or fresh) 1 cup shelled edamame 1 medium carrot, diced 2 large stalks of celery, diced 1 egg 3 T Bragg Seasoning (or soy sauce) 1 tsp ginger Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 2 bags of Rooibos tea. Reduce heat to medium and let steep for 3 – 5 minutes. Return to a boil, add rice and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking according to rice packaging instructions or until tea is absorbed

When rice is nearly finished, in a deep large frying pan, (or ideally a wok) add the sesame oil and olive oil and let it heat on medium for 1 minute. Add onion and garlic and let them cook until onions are translucent. Add the peas, edamame, carrot, celery and saute on medium to low heat until cooked to desired texture. In a separate small frying pan, scramble one (or even two) eggs.

Add the Rooibos rice and scrambled egg to the vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to low, toss with bragg and ginger. Finish with cracked pepper.