Boil Potatoes In Tea To Infuse An Explosion Of Flavor

Boiled potatoes and tea leaves
Boiled potatoes and tea leaves - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Boiling potatoes in bone broth, stock, or even a small splash of milk lends the creamy flesh of a Yukon gold an extra burst of flavor and nutrients. But have you ever tried simmering your taters in tea? This simple trick imbues the spuds with an infusion of savory flavor that's fragrant and earthy, elevating this classic homely carb into an elegant side dish.

Tea leaves are commonly used in traditional Chinese dishes, like tea-smoked chicken and braised pork, to give the ingredients a fragrant aroma, color and woody flavor. However, this cooking technique involves using a wok to create a makeshift steamer where the protein can absorb the scent of the tea leaves as it cooks. Boiling potatoes in brewed tea is far easier and results in a mellower flavor that gently permeates the potatoes without overpowering their comforting quality. This makes them perfect for serving with delicate mains, such as freshly grilled fish and seafood.

The final flavor of the potatoes will depend on the variety of tea you select. For example, a regular black tea will give the spuds a fuller-bodied flavor than a nutty and herbaceous green tea. Yellow tea, on the other hand, has a sweeter taste (because it's micro-fermented before it's packed) as does a floral chamomile tea or loose rosehip tea.

Read more: 25 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them

Remove The Tea Leaves From The Cooking Water

Different varieties of tea
Different varieties of tea - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

While boiling your potatoes in tea is simple, there are a couple of tips to bear in mind when amping up your tatties. First, allow the loose tea leaves or tea bags to steep in the hot water for three minutes or so before you add the potatoes. This creates a strongly infused tea that will impart its depth of flavor into the potatoes as they cook. For a lighter flavor, simply brew the tea for less time (a minute is perfect for a delicate infusion) rather than reducing the amount of tea used. Discard the tea leaves before adding potatoes to the water — if you don't remove them they will release more tannin, a compound that elicits an astringent and bitter quality in the tea.

Boil your potatoes as normal in the infused water until fork tender before draining. Then you can toss them in butter or olive oil, and extra seasonings such as Chinese five spice powder, a squirt of lemon juice (just as you might add to tea), or a drizzle of garlic butter to zhuzh them up with another layer of flavor. Or add more flavorings to the tea itself to create a high-powered broth for the potatoes to soak up. This technique is exemplified in the classic Chinese dish cha ye dan, or tea eggs, where whole eggs are simmered in a liquid infused with cinnamon and Sichuan peppercorns, giving savory depth and a beautiful marbled surface.

Read the original article on Tasting Table