When thinking about recipes featuring tea this month, I knew I wanted to make at least one savory dish. Smoking or steaming something with tea seemed like the best way to infuse the tea flavor into a dish, it also seemed like something most people would like to try. I felt like fish would pick up the most flavor so I headed in that direction.
Let’s get to it!
I used a bamboo steamer for this recipe. You can find these on Amazon or your local Asian market (like Uwajimaya or H Mart). Start by placing water in a wok or other pan that has slanted sides and is large enough to fit your steamer. Heat the pan over high to get the water boiling. You’ll want to make sure the water is low enough that it won’t touch the bottom of your steamer.
Now you’ll get the fish ready. I like tilapia because it’s flaky, inexpensive and takes on flavors well. Take out a large piece of parchment paper. Cut your tea bags open and dump the tea onto the parchment paper.
Fold the paper in half and then you’re going to seal it up. You’re making a pouch so that the tea can infuse the steam but not get on the fish. Fold the other 3 sides over so the tea is enclosed. Give it a shake so that the tea is in a thin layer and spread around. Now take a knife and cut five or six slits into the pouch so that steam (and tea flavor) can escape.
I used English Breakfast tea, but you can also use Darjeeling or any tea that doesn’t have too complicated a flavor (don’t use Earl Grey, for instance). With this recipe you want something with a single note that you like so that it doesn’t overpower the fish. Put the pouch into your steamer.
Now take each tilapia filet and coat it with olive oil and salt.
Place the tilapia in the steamer and put the lid on. Put your steamer in the pan over the boiling water. Turn the the heat down to medium so the water is just gently simmering.
Steam the fish covered for about ten minutes. Take the lid off and check that the fish is flaky and opaque in the center. It may need another two to three minutes.
Once the fish is done, carefully take it out of the steamer and put it on plates. Serve hot.
This fish is delicate and light. The tea adds a nice herby and slightly smoky flavor. I also enjoy how quick it cooks so it makes a perfect weeknight meal.
- 2 tilapia filets
- 6 black teabags
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Boil water in a wok or other pan that has slanted sides over high heat.
- Take out a large piece of parchment paper. Cut tea bags open and dump tea onto the parchment paper. Fold the paper in half and fold the other 3 sides over so tea is enclosed. Cut 5-6 slits into pouch.
- Put pouch into steamer. Coat each tilapia filet with olive oil and salt.
- Place tilapia in steamer and put lid on. Put steamer in the pan and turn heat down to medium so the water is just gently simmering.
- Steam for about 10 minutes. Take the lid off and check that the fish is flaky and opaque in the center. Carefully take it out of the steamer and put it on plates.
- Serve hot.