Most folks assume that those perfectly-placed grill marks on their steak or fish is a sign of a well-cooked dish. However, more and more scientists are suggesting that those sizzling scorches may also serve a sinister function.
This is because the process of grilling food and producing that sought-after char is thought to also bring out compounds known as heterocyclic amines. And it is these heterocyclic amines, studies suggest, that are reported to promote carcinogenesis (the creation of cancer) in humans.
According to a recent study, though, there is still some hope for your grill, with tea. Researchers from the University of Porto found that using a tea-based marinade before grilling reduced levels of heterocyclic amines by up to 75 per cent.
Not only that, but using tea in the marinade also helps tenderize the dish thanks to the tannins found naturally inside the tea leaves.
So you are left with not only a deliciously different dish, but also a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is healthier for you!
By the way, here is a yummy tea-infused marinade (doubles as a vinaigrette) that you can use with virtually any dish, from beef to pork to poultry to seafood to veggies to tofu – I’d bet it would even taste good with shoes.
4 tsp Genmai Cha, dry
2 cups water
4 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp pickled chiles (or one Thai chili, or your fav)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (found in the ethnic food aisle)
1/2 cup light soy sauce (found in the ethnic food aisle)
4 tbsp grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)
1/2 tsp asian sesame oil (found in the ethnic food aisle)
3 tbsp honey (recommended: RedBee’s Alfalfa honey)
a few turns of fresh cracked pepper
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a pot. Once boiling, turn off heat, let water cool for a minute or two, then add tea leaves. Allow to steep for about 3 minutes, strain. Allow tea to cool completely, then add 1/2 cup of the tea to a mixing bowl (the rest is for drinking while you cook) along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
Marinate your favorite foods for 3-4 hours (not too long!) for an extra-special tea-infused delight that’s sure to please even the toughest critics!