Mushroom Fried Rice with Pu-erh Tea

In May, we partnered with Chef Dalia David to create a Mushroom Fried Rice recipe using our Smoky Pu-erh (2017), the "smoky whisky" tea.

This recipe was showcased during our weekly Friday Instagram LIVE session with Chef Dalia as our guest. For some of the highlights from this session, please see below.

I am a sommelier, not a chef. But Chef Dalia made this recipe so easy that she said it would take her 5 minutes to make this fried rice!

Given how forgiving this recipe is, we recommend you try this recipe as your first-ever cooking with tea experience. 

Ingredient List

  • Smoky Pu-erh (2017) (2 tbsp soaked leaves, 1/4 cup brewed)
  • Rice (cooked al dente, 1 cup)
  • Morel mushrooms (or shiitake or oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped, 1 cup)
  • Ginger (crushed or paste, 2 tbsp)
  • Scallion (chopped, 1/4 cup)
  • Egg (scrambled, 1 egg)
  • Soy sauce or tamari (to taste)
  • Rice vinegar (1 dash)
  • White or black pepper (to taste)
  • Maple syrup (or brown sugar or agave, to taste)
  • Toasted sesame oil (1 tbsp, for the pan)

Step-by-Step How to Make it

  1. Heat a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil in a saucepan on medium-high.
  2. Lower the heat. Roughly chop mushrooms.
  3. Add about a tablespoon of ginger into the saucepan and allow it to caramelize.
  4. Sauté the mushroom after the paste has browned. Cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms are soft and chewy.
  5. Add rice to the saucepan.
  6. Add eggs to the saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Then, add half a tablespoon of Smoky Pu-erh (2017). Chop the tea leaves or add the full leaves based on preference.
  8. Add soy sauce and more toasted sesame oil to taste. Mix to combine.
  9. Add scallions to the saucepan. Add a few drops of rice vinegar to enhance flavor. Add a dash of maple syrup. Mix to combine.
  10. Taste as you go. Add more of the ingredients based on preference.
  11. Serve!

Please note that these step-by-step instructions were written based on Chef Dali's demo and were not directly written by the chef. 

The tea leaves taste like very chewy spinach, vegetal, cooked greens. And they hold well so that when you chew them, you keep tasting the green leaf along with the soy, ginger, rice vinegar. A wonderful flavor combination

Q&A from our Instagram LIVE session with Chef Dalia David

Ashley: How do you choose tea for cooking?

Given the choice between Smoky Pu-erh (2017) and Yiwu Wild Lao Raw Pu-erh (2018), why did you decide to use the Smoky Pu-erh (2017) for this fried rice recipe? 

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Have you tried cooking with tea? If so, how do you choose which type of tea to use in your cooking? In May, we partnered with Chef Dalia David to create a Mushroom Fried Rice recipe using our Smoky Pu-erh (2017), the "smoky whiskey" tea. She was given two different raw pu’er teas, and she chose this tea over our Yiwu Wild Lao Raw Pu-erh (2018). You can watch Dalia explain why. This recipe was showcased during our weekly LIVE Tea Hour with @dalia.david as our guest. She made this recipe so easy that she said it would take her 5 minutes to make this fried rice! Given how forgiving this recipe is, we recommend you try this recipe as your first-ever cooking with tea experience. You can find the list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions here: #cheftalk #plantbasedrecipe #teastagram #teaholic #puerh

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A: What kind of rice should we use for this recipe?

Chef Dalia David: For fried rice, you can literally use anything. In the beginning of quarantine, rice was sold out everywhere and the only rice I could get my hands on was sushi rice. I have fallen in love with sushi rice, so I used it for my fried rice. I like the texture and the chewiness. I cook it very al dente before I make the fried rice because there is extra heat that goes into it when you are making the fried rice.

A: Is using leftover rice or dehydrated rice the same as using al dente rice?

D: That's a great technique as well. If I use dehydrated rice and throw in some brewed tea, it would plump it up. The technique of using dehydrated rice is to add a little bit of water to steam it and then sauté afterward. 

A: Should we add dry leaves or brewed tea?

D: If you add the dry leaf form into the heat with the moisture from the rice and throw in some water, the leaves will unravel a little bit. But I don't think you will get the same type of infusion of flavor if you don't steep it. 

I am not sure if you've ever used tamarind, but if you get fresh tamarind, it is dry and caked into a square. Fresh in that it's not coming from a pot but it's the square cake you get.It's a semi-dried form. It's sort of chewy and pliable. When you take that and put in hot water, tamarind unravels and gets soft and you get the real essence of tamarind.

So the point here is to get the essence of tea. That's why you steep it just a little. You can do it while you are cooking. You can leave it for 2 minutes. You just want it to be alive so that when you throw it into the rice, it's got a bit of oomph to it. 

You can use dry but I don't think the flavor will come out as strong.

A: Why are we adding sugar or a type of sweetener to the fried rice?

D: It's for the balance. You don’t want the food to just be salty. You want there to be a dash of sweetness. For instance, when you have a chocolate cake, there always a dash of sea salt in the ingredient list to balance the sweetness. So in this case, you want to balance the salt. 

Balance is important in cooking because otherwise one flavor will overpower the other. It's good to use different ingredients to combat that. 

Think of the spices are flavors you are using as a color wheel. Say you are using soy sauce. Across from it is sweetness to balance the strong salt and umami.

We will also be uploading a video version of this recipe soon. Stay tuned!

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