Veal with Green Tea Leaves
- SERVINGS: 2
Cooking with tea leaves is common in China, particularly in tea-growing regions such as Hangzhou, where fresh leaves are readily available. The tea contributes a subtle yet aromatic flavor to the dish.
- 1/3 cup brewed green tea
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
- 2 1/2 teaspoons tapioca starch
- 6 ounces lean veal loin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Shallot Oil
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons green tea leaves
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons dried cloud ear mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 6 thin asparagus spears, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal
- 1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 small scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced water chestnuts
- 1 tablespoon Shao-Hsing wine or dry sherry
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Slice the veal across the grain 1/4 inch thick, then cut the slices into 2-by-1/2-inch strips. In a small bowl, toss the veal with 1/4 teaspoon of the Shallot Oil and the salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Put the tea leaves in a bowl. Add the boiling water, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain the tea, reserving only the leaves. Thoroughly rinse the soaked cloud ear mushrooms in cold water; drain.
- Set a wok over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the cloud ears, asparagus and celery and cook until the asparagus is bright green, about 1 minute. Drain the vegetables; reserve the stock for another use.
- Wipe out the wok and set it over high heat for 40 seconds. Add the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of Shallot Oil and swirl to coat the wok. When a wisp of white smoke appears, add the scallions, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the veal, red pepper, water chestnuts, wine and the reserved tea leaves. Add the cloud ear mushrooms, asparagus and celery and mix thoroughly.
- Make a well in the center of the wok, pushing all of the ingredients up the sides slightly. Stir the sauce and add it to the wok. Mix in the veal and vegetables and cook until thick and bubbling. Serve immediately.
This mild dish calls for a characterful, dry white with enough flavor to tie the meat, asparagus and other ingredients together. A California Pinot Blanc, such as Lockwood or Murphy-Goode, would work particularly well here.