The Chinese use tea in almost every form, and have a specific kind of tea for every ailment, body function and time of day. They even use tea in cooking many dishes, particularly broths!
This kind of soup can be considered as one of the healthiest form of cooking you will ever do – with no oil at all, natural and fresh ingredients, and a slow cooking that is quite therapeutic.
You don’t have to travel all the way to China to get your own dose of therapeutic teas; I use a good quality oolong tea, which I bought from Te Cha, a wonderful little store in Ahmedabad, that brings loose tea leaves from all over, and has the perfect type of packaging that ensures the long life of your tea. Choose from a wide variety of green, black, white and floral teas – the store is a little piece of heaven for a tea lover!
The appearance may remind you of a good miso soup – but this is not a Japanese soup, but a Chinese one. The steps are incredibly simple and ensure great taste – freshly brewed tea, with grated garlic, ginger, black pepper, and chopped onions. Later on add in some spinach, paneer or tofu, and any other veggies you would like. Add in some soya sauce for some tang, and some chilies if you need the spice, but I leave them out, as I prefer a more soothing, mellow soup.
If you choose to use tofu instead of paneer, add the tofu in just before serving. You can add any vegetables to the soup (leeks, beans, mushrooms, carrots). Adjust the salt after adding the soya sauce, as the soya sauce already has enough salt. You can strain out the garlic, ginger, pepper and onions from the soup before adding the spinach and paneer.
Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 50 mins
3 cups water
2 tbsp Oolong tea loose leaf
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp grated garlic
½ onion, finely chopped
6-7 whole black pepper
½ cup spinach
8-10 cubed paneer or firm tofu
1 tsp soya sauce
Pinch of salt
Fill the tea leaves into a teabag or a tea ball strainer.
Fill the water into a saucepan and add the ginger, garlic, onions, black pepper and tea.
Bring to a boil on low heat, and let simmer for at least half an hour.
Remove the tea ball strainer.
Then add the spinach and paneer. (If you are using tofu, add this in just before serving).
Add the soya sauce and pinch of salt.
Let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve hot.