Tea has always been a good accompaniment to many meals around the world in more ways than one. It can help in digestion when served hot or provide refreshment when served cold. It is prepared in a myriad of ways depending on the culture – served with ice, mixed with milk and sugar or boiled with spices and aromatics for a fragrant brew.
And who wouldn’t? Tea is rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols and catechins that reverse the negative effects of oxidative stress and the free radicals that cause it. These same antioxidants have been shown to prevent more serious ailments such as cancer in the long run.
I’ve had the chance to try out three meals with a tea-based beverage accompanying them, amid the ongoing pandemic. What I like about tea is that despite its origins in the East, other countries have adopted it – resulting in different takes on Camellia sinensis. So without further ado, here’s my triptych.
First is this Thai Shrimp Paste Fried Rice with Thai Milk Tea from MyThai Kitchen. The Thai milk tea’s sweetness neutralizes the strong flavor and spice of the rice dish. Thai food is known for its rather liberal use of chilies, which makes the milky cha yen a perfect accompaniment to most dishes from the Land of Smiles.
Next is the Nasi Lemak with Teh Tarik from The Roti Shop. The Malaysian version of milk tea is repeatedly poured from a certain height, resulting in a well-balanced drink. The practice similar to decanting mixes tea, milk, and sugar – giving the drink a lot of body. The milk tea cuts through the spicy sambal and rounds off the savory chicken, peanuts, and anchovies.
Lastly, here is the Beef Ribs Platter with House Iced Tea from Racks. This trademark platter from the Southern United States usually comes with sweet tea – although this one is a commercial version. It cuts the savory taste of the tender ribs and the lemon neutralizes their oiliness. I found it too sweet so I had to add some water to dilute it.
And that wraps up this triptych. How about you: Do you drink tea alongside your meals? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!
Until the next post, bon appetit and stay safe!