Cooking with Green tea

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Cooking with Green tea
I was never too much of a cook but that never stopped me from appreciating and enjoying various cuisines and food forms. The reality is that I have never enjoyed the reputation of churning out mouth watering dishes. Anytime, i did offer to cook, my family merrily gave a counter offer of treating me outside or just ordering in. Well, not much to complain as i still continued to enjoy various cuisines and food types our culturally rich country has to offer. Being a born vegetarian is sort of restricting but honestly i haven't had much of an issue being a vegetarian and living in India. Until, I shifted to China!

The challenge there was not just about being a vegetarian in a “not just meat eating” land but also the dramatic cultural difference that came along. Combine it with not knowing the local language was equivalent to the feeling of being illiterate - being unable to ready, write, understand or communicate. I then understood the importance and significance of being able to read at the back of any retail food pack and decipher what you are consuming. When everything is printed in mandarin, there is only so much you can do! Which brought me back to a simple reality check - What do i eat? And hence began my journey with cooking!

Ever since, I have been a decent cook always looking for ways and means to create food which is not just exciting but also adds value to my family’s nutritional quotient. Well, in my case -Necessity was indeed the mother of invention.

On my return to India, I invited my dear sister and a few other friends over for a small family dinner. I decided to create my signature dishes - Thai Green Curry and Tom Yum Soup using Green tea. While in China, I had realized that green tea is a part of the culture for a reason. The immense health benefits that is derived from this drink and the multitude of ways they incorporate the teas in their cuisine. It shows empirically through the way Chinese have made it a lifestyle essential and i was equally determined to imbibe my learnings into my cuisines.

My sister arrived and it was a happy reunion and she was fairy excited to understand what was on the menu. My house, incidentally is surrounded by a good variety to sub-urban restaurants and while i got ready with the last mile cooking in the kitchen, she decided to take my daughter for a small walk around the apartment complex. While I had traveled the world and had came back with a new passion for food, it looked like my reputation back home had not changed much. My sister, “just to be doubly sure of being served good food” brought back a couple of large Mexican meals from the local restaurant next door. I had a grin the moment I saw the boxes but happily served them along with my elaborate and fortified thai cuisine.

Soon the dinner was served and we all sat down to eat and I saw the reactions change at the table from doubt to “is it really that you made it” to “its delicious” to “its better than a restaurant dish”. I brimmed with pride and blushed and gradually shared my food tips like a true connoisseur. I had definitely evolved from an amateur in the kitchen to a bit of a specialist. I complemented the conversation with a little talk on my secret ingredient - Green tea and how it enhances the taste with added benefits of antioxidants, riboflavins and catechins. How it helps in weight loss, keeping fit and is full of anti ageing benefits. My sister, normally hard to please was thoroughly impressed with both the food and food related gyan I was able to impart to her.

In the end it worked out well, we were all a happy contended lot. Well fed and satiated with goodness of the ingredient we had consumed. My sister not just took back memories of good food and also my special green tea pack!

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