Pu-erh tea, a tea category all its own, is generally known for its rich, woodsy and earthy flavors with hints of mushrooms, tobacco smoke and even a touch of leather, all depending upon if the pu-erh tea is cooked or raw and how long it’s been aged (above: a Moon Cake Shu Pu-erh from In Pursuit of Tea). I was inspired to infuse this steep with a summer smoked classic of kabobs on the grill, and create a recipe for pu-erh tea chicken and mushroom kabobs. The deep, earthy flavors of this tea add a complexity that sings when mixed with umami notes of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and other ingredients in the marinade. Be sure to use meaty mushrooms like porcini or cremini, that mirror mushroom elements within the tea, rather than more subtle white button mushrooms. Swap chicken for tofu or sweet carrots for a vegetarian skewer. Watch my recipe video below, as part of a summer web series sharing my original tea infused recipes on The Daily Tea.
Pu-erh Tea Chicken & Mushroom Kabobs.
Makes 8-10 kabobs
- 3 tablespoons Pu-erh tea
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8oz baby Porcini or Crimini mushrooms, sliced into ¼ to ½ inch thickness (note: use any mushroom you like)
- 1 pound chicken thighs (skinless & boneless) cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 red onion, cut and separate layers into 1-inch pieces
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 8-10 wooden or metal skewers (tip: soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to ensure that they won’t be flammable)
Bring 1.5 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 tablespoons of Pu-erh tea to an infuser and brew in boiling water for 6 minutes. Strain and reserve tea leaves.Stir honey into hot tea and let tea completely cool to room temperature (for quicker cooling, place brewed tea in fridge or freezer, making sure that mug or tea pot is covered to preserve freshness/flavor).While the tea cools, prep chicken and vegetables. In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and wet steeped tea leaves and then add room temperature tea. Pour marinade into an airtight container or bowl, and add onions, mushrooms, chicken and mix to ensure that they are completed covered by the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap or seal airtight and let the ingredients marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (overnight recommended but no more than 24 hours).
Heat grill or an indoor grill pan on high heat until very hot. Thread mushrooms, chicken pieces, onion and bell peppers onto each skewer (note: do not crowd ingredients on each skewer or they will not cook properly).
Place each skewer on the grill and cook 5-6 minutes on each side until ingredients are slightly charred and cooked (if you find that they’re sticking, use a light cooking oil spray). Remove from the grill and serve warm.
Watch more of my tea infused recipes on The Daily Tea.