My kitchen is empty and its cupboards are bare. Today I’ll be moving into an apartment with a sparkling new kitchen, but yesterday I feasted on tea-smoked quail. The dish was very much an experiment for me; I had never cooked quail, tea, or smoked food of any kind before, so I was unsure of what to expect.
Although I chose tea as the theme of this month’s Is My Blog Burning event, I can’t say that I know very much about it. Until a few months ago, I only thought of tea as a staple. I drank it regularly, but little did I know how many different types existed, and how much teas of the same name varied in flavour. Thankfully, my friend Renée, who is very much a tea addict (err.. I mean, tea connoisseur) introduced me to the world of fine tea. Three weeks ago, when it came time to pick a theme for this month’s IMBB event, tea was the obvious choice. Cooking with tea would be both challenging and interesting. The possibilities of infusing wonderful tea aromas into food seemed endless.
I chose to do a quail dish because I occasionally have quail at restaurants, but had never prepared it myself. I also attempted to make a matcha-raspberry-lichee tart, but it turned out terribly, due in part to poor instructions and a picture-recipe mismatch. Once I’m settled into my new kitchen (hopefully later today), I will attempt to do another tea-based dessert.
The tea-smoked quail preparation I used is quite straightforward and is based on a recipe by Patricia Yeo (of New York’s Sapa). I simply substituted the lapsang souchong with the more subtle ti kuan yin (oolong), and glazed the quail with honey after smoking to give it an extra touch of sweetness and shine. The quail was very moist and succulent, however I found the flavour to be a bit too smoky for my taste. The smoke from the pot also stained all my kitchen cupboards orange. But that was okay since I was planning to clean them anyway. I’d highly recommend Patricia Yeo’s Asian slaw as an accompaniment to the quail. Its sweet, tart flavour contrast wonderfully with the quail. I also sauced the dish with an orange juice reduction made from orange juice, butter and soy sauce.
Stay tuned… more tasteTea cooking to come.