Why Add Tea to Rice?
Green tea has been used for centuries to aid in overall health and ease ailments like migraines. Adding green tea to your rice is incredibly easy, and sneaks all those health benefits into your diet in an unobtrusive and delicious way. Not only is it healthy, but Plum Deluxe's Hope Blend Green Tea made with jasmine adds a complex flavor that fits with fried rice surprisingly well.
In reality, you could use any of your favorite green teas to make green tea white or fried rice. Plum Deluxe offers numerous delicious green teas, but I knew I didn't want to pair this dish with a fruity flavor like Easy to Be Green. After looking through my selection of fantastic green teas, I decided to go with the equally complex, though more traditional, Hope Blend.
Green Tea Rice Two Ways
There are two variations of green tea rice that are incredibly easy and suit a number of dishes. With both of these variations, just make a pot of tea first and then use that as the water to cook your rice. You can do this however you normally make rice since you're not changing the ingredients; you're just turning that water into tea first.
Green Tea White Rice
First up is a regular green tea white rice. White rice is a staple that often pairs well with heavily flavored dishes. It balances out the strong flavors and can serve as a filler or palate cleanser as well. The trick to making green tea rice is to cook a pot of green tea, strain it, then cook the rice in the water-turned-tea. It's a simple process, but I learned a couple of tips along the way as well.
You'll want to add some extra water to the pot when you make the tea. Some of that water will evaporate when you steep the tea, so to be sure you have enough for your desired amount of rice, then add a little more to allow for evaporation. You also want to add salt to your rice. I neglected the salt on the first run and ended up with what tasted like flowery jasmine starch. Finally, make sure you strain the tea before you add the rice. Otherwise, you'll be steeping the tea for what is essentially 30 minutes, and it will be overpowering and bitter.
Green Tea Fried Rice
Fried green tea rice is just taking the white rice one step farther. You still want to make your white rice as described above, but then you're going to cook it again. The beauty of fried rice is that you can add whatever you want to the dish. I don't prefer eggs in my fried rice, so I left them out.
The other awesome benefit of fried rice is that it is best made with leftover rice. If you made white rice last time and had some left, take it out of the fridge and fry it up for another yummy dish. In this one, the green tea flavor isn't as strong, but it adds a layer of complexity to the dish that draws you in with each bite.
For fried rice, I cook the ingredients first, then add the rice at the end since it's already cooked. Make sure you use sesame oil or some other complimentary oil so the flavors still go together. Then add some seasoning and hearty vegetables that don't have their own strong flavor. This way, everything is balanced. I added a dash of salt and pepper, garlic powder, and peas, carrots, and white onions to mine. You can also add a protein of your choice if this is a stand alone dish.
Tips and Tricks
Rice isn't hard to make, but mouthwatering rice needs a little more finesse. Here's what I did to make this dish fantastic.
- Add a little more water than you need for your rice when you make the tea since some will evaporate in the process.
- Strain the tea out, or prepare and steep with tea bags, before you add the rice and salt. You can save the leaves and put a little back into your white rice at the end to make it extra fancy, but don't leave the tea in the water while the rice cooks.
- Do not forget the salt, otherwise, it will taste like floral starchy rice.
- Use cold, cooked rice for the fried rice so it's nice and dry.
White Green Tea Rice
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Hope Blend Green Tea
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Boil water in a pot on the stove, then remove from heat.
Add Green Tea, steep for 4 minutes, then strain tea into another stove-top pot.
Return water-turned-tea to heat and add rice and salt.
Cover and simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes or until liquid is gone.
Garnish and serve.
Fried Green Tea Rice
- White Green Tea Rice (above), cooked and cooled
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1/4 cup white onions
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Dash of salt and pepper to taste
Heat sesame oil and sauté peas, carrots, onions, and garlic powder together in large saucepan.
When vegetables are sautéd to your liking, add soy sauce.
Add pre-cooked and cooled rice.
Cook together on medium until well mixed and rice is warm. Stir frequently to avoid burning to the bottom of the pan.
Garnish and serve.