a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
My first experience cooking with smoky Lapsang Souchong tea was through Heidi Swanson’s recipe for Black Tea Spring Rolls in her gorgeous Super Natural Cooking cookbook.
I’ve made many versions of this dish since, mostly as egg rolls or pot stickers, and always incorporating Heidi’s brilliant mixture of finely chopped shallots and mushrooms seasoned with ground Lapsang Souchong tea leaves.
It’s the mixture of the smoky tea seasoning with the woody, earthy mushrooms that makes this dish so interesting. That’s why I always keep this base and then play around with other goodies to add to the mix each time I make the recipe.
In this iteration, I decided to bulk up the egg roll mixture with brown rice noodles that I cooked in a strong brewed Lapsang Souchong tea. I also threw in some farmer’s market green beans for color and toasted cashews for crunch.
Happy cooking and sipping!
(Inspired by the Black Tea Spring Rolls recipe in Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.)
Makes about 12 egg rolls
3 tablespoons loose leaf Lapsang Souchong tea
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup shallots, minced (about 3 small shallots)
½ lb mixed wild mushrooms, minced (shitake and/or cremini are good supermarket options if you don’t have access to fresh wild mushrooms)
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. angel hair brown rice noodles (I used half a package of Annie Chun’s Maifun Brown Rice Noodles)
¼ lb green beans, trimmed and chopped small
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sambal chile paste or Siracha chile sauce (optional)
1/3 cup raw cashews, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1 package of egg roll wrappers (there are usually about 20 to 24 in a package)
1. Prepare the tea: Steep 2 tablespoons of the loose leaf tea in 4 cups of boiled water for 7 minutes. Strain, discard the tea leaves, and set the tea liquid aside. Grind the remaining 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea into a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and set aside.
2. Start the egg roll mixture: Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until the mushrooms release their moisture and start to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Prepare the noodles: Add the 4 cups of steeped tea liquid to a large saucepan, and top it with 4 more cups of water. Bring to a boil, add the brown rice noodles, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Strain the noodles, and set aside.
4. Finish the egg roll mixture: Add the 1 tablespoon of ground tea, green beans, vinegar, soy sauce, and chile paste (if using) to the cooked-down mushroom mixture, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in half of the cooked noodles, combining thoroughly. Break the noodles apart with a wooden spoon, if necessary, to get them all mixed in. Then, add additional noodles as you see fit. (Note: You don’t want the mixture to be too bulky with noodles. Taste along the way, and add additional soy sauce if the mixture is too dry.) Remove the pan from heat, and allow mixture to cool. Stir the cashews into the mixture once it has cooled.
5. Prepare the egg rolls: Create a work surface to fill the egg roll wrappers. Lay the wrapper in front of you so it makes a diamond shape with one corner pointing toward you. Fill and roll each wrapper like you would a burrito. Place about 2 heaping teaspoons of filling in the middle of the wrapper, leaving the edges clear. Fold the corner facing you over the filling, and then fold both side corners into the middle. Keeping a tight grip on the mixture, roll away from you toward the opposite corner to complete the egg roll. Try to make sure there are no gaps in the egg roll where filling could escape or cooking oil could penetrate. Using your fingers, rub a little water on the inside opposite corner and edges of the wrapper before you seal it. Place it sealed corner side down on a platter or baking sheet, and prepare the rest of the egg rolls.
6. Fry the egg rolls: Heat 1 cup of canola oil to about 300 to 350 degrees in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven. Fry the egg rolls about 4 at a time in the pan for about 2 minutes per side, until deep golden brown. Remove from oil, and place on a paper towel lined platter to soak up the extra oil.
7. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce: Soy sauce with freshly grated ginger and dried chile flakes, sweet chile, or hoisin are all good dipping options.