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Smoky Sea Bass with Papaya Mango Salsa - Recipe

Sesational Smoky Tea Flavors

by Chas Kroll

Smoky sea bass with cream ani glace, papaya mango salsa and forbidden black rice

It might be optimistic to say Americans are turning into a culture of tea drinkers, but along with rising interest in the healthful benefits of Camellia Sinensis (especially its antioxidant properties) and the ubiquity of chain tea and coffee shops, more and more people are incorporating the taste of tea into their daily lives.

In China, cooking with tea is as old as the story of tea itself. Oolong leaves were stuffed into fish for a pungent steamed dish, and “Dragonwell is commonly stir fried with shredded chicken breast and bean spouts for a fresh grassy punch,” writes Diana Rosen, co-author with Robert Wemischner of Cooking with Tea. These days, chefs are recognizing the versatility of tea as a spice, meat tenderizer, marinade or edible leaf.

La Jolla, Calif.-based tea master and self-trained chef Chas Kroll and San Diego chef Joseph Sands combined their creative forces to create Asian 10 Spice, an aromatic seasoning using Lapsang Souchong black tea, Chinese five-spice powder and four other ingredients. The result is a distinctive rub and seasoning for beef, pork, chicken, duck and fish. Its smoky aroma is balanced by sweetness to satisfy the palate. We had the pleasure to experience these tea-focused creations first-hand in the form of sea bass topped off with the sweet taste of papaya-mango salsa and served alongside a bed of Forbidden Black Rice.

Forbidden Black Rice:
3 tablespoons peach apricot black tea
2 cups rice
2 cloves garlic
4 thin slices fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sea salt

Add ten cups of boiling water to the tea in a four-quart pot. Cover and steep for five minutes. Strain the tea to remove the leaves and set aside. Heat the sesame oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottom iron skillet on high heat. As soon as the oil begins to smoke, lower the heat to medium. Add the rice, garlic, ginger and one cup of tea at a time. Sauté and simmer, carefully adding more tea as needed to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan. Cover on simmer and set aside. Cooking time is 45 minutes.

Papaya-Mango Salsa:
1 ripe papaya, peeled, diced
1 ripe mango, peeled, diced
1/4 cup fresh pineapple, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, stems removed, chopped
1 orange, cut in half
1 lime, cut in half
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (to taste)

Put the papaya, mango, pineapple and cilantro in a two-quart mixing bowl. Add the juice from the orange and lime, plus the chili sauce. Mix gently with a spoon. Set aside to allow the flavors to meld.

Cream Ani Glace:
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons Hawaiian Colada Roobois Red Tea
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar

Bring the milk to just under a slow boil, lower the heat to medium and add the tea. Steep for at least five minutes. Strain the tea to remove the leaves and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and add the sugar to achieve a light lemon color. In a 12-inch heavy-bottom iron skillet on medium heat, slowly drizzle the tea into the eggs, whisking slowly at first. Once incorporated, place over a double-boiler and stir for six minutes. Set aside.

Sea Bass:
8 eight-ounce Sea Bass fillets (one-inch thick)
Asian 10 Spice

Lightly dust both sides with Asian 10 Spice. Heat a heavy-bottom iron skillet on medium-high heat for five minutes and carefully place the fish in the pan. Cook for three minutes per side, turning once, being careful not to overcook the fish.

Serves:  8

Match with Organic White Peony
To compliment the experience, serve with a premium-grade white tea like organic white peony. In addition to its health benefits, its light, delicate taste is an ideal palate cleanser. Prized for its mild flavor as well as low astringency and savory finish, it is often consumed during and after a meal in many areas of China and is low in caffeine because of a unique natural processing.


Asian 10 Spice, Peach Apricot Black Tea, Hawaiian Colada Roobois Red Tea and Organic White Peony are available online from Royal Dynasty Tea,, or by calling 619-574-6909 ext. 121. Forbidden Black Rice is available online from Lotus Foods,, or by calling 866-972-6879.

Copyright © 2004. Joe Sands and Chas Kroll. All rights reserved.

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