by Kate Heyhoe
Many legends purport to explain the origin of tea, but most resemble this story:
Daruma, the devout monk who brought Zen Buddhism from India to China, had led an austere life of solitude and meditation for nine years. During this time he denied himself all pleasures of worldly life, including food, drink and sleep. Until one day, he violated his vows and fell victim to sleep. Daruma's shame and anger at himself for this was so deep that, upon waking, he cut off his eyelids and threw them to ground.
Returning to the spot the next day, Daruma was amazed to discover that two bushy plants had sprung out of the earth where his eyelids had dropped. Tasting the leaves of these plants, the monk discovered they provided a stimulating energy and a refreshing commitment to divine contemplation. He pronounced his reverence of the plant to his brethren, and ever since the tea leaf has been an integral part in the holy lives of the Buddhists throughout India and Asia. Daruma died in 528 A.D., and is said to have lived a long, long life.
Below is a recipe for Tea-Smoked Chicken Wings. And don't miss Summer Tea for Me and Thee and another tea recipe from the Book of Tea.
Smoking with tea is a traditional Chinese approach to preparing chicken. To the Western eye, the darkened skin resembles Cajun-style cuisine. These flavorful, bite-size chicken wings make a delicious appetizer when served plain, or with your favorite mustard, peanut or teriyaki sauce.
3 pounds chicken wings (16 wings)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sherry
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup loose Lapsang Souchong tea
Sesame seeds as garnish
Using a knife, separate the mini drumstick end of the wing and slice through between the joints. Cut the wing tip off and discard. (any good butcher will dot his for you.) Wash the chicken thoroughly and pat dry.
Using the metal blade of your processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the grated ginger root, honey, soy sauce, and sherry, processing for 20 to 30 seconds to blend. Pour the marinade in a9-by-13-inch baking pan, and add the chicken wings. With a spoon, drizzle the marinade over all the wings. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, rotating the chicken wings at least once.
To smoke the chicken, choose a heavy steel or cast iron roasting pan or skillet with a tight fitting lid. Line the bottom of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle the brown sugar and tea on top of the foil. Place a cake rack in the skillet, over the sugar and tea mixture, and arrange the chicken wings on the rack. Cover the pan or skillet with a lid (or heavy aluminum foil if the lid does not fit snugly). Turn on your kitchen exhaust fan. Turn the burner on high, and leave chicken on high heat for 30 minutes (see Note). Do not remove the lid to check. Turn off the heat after 30 minutes, and keep the chicken covered another 20 minutes. Smoked chicken will keep for several days if well-wrapped and refrigerated.
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.
Note: As with any recipe requiring a dish to be cooked at high heat, use caution. Since this dish does produce smoke, it is imperative to use your kitchen exhaust fan, and to have a pan or skillet with a tight fitting lid.
The Tea Book
Copyright 1993 by Sara Perry and Judith Ann Rose
Photography Copyright 1993 by Edward Gowans
Reprinted by permission.
Summer Tea for Me and Thee and another tea recipe from the Book of Tea.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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