Matcha green tea powder, the finely ground Japanese green tea has infinite uses, both savory and sweet. Start off traditionally by learning how to brew a tea latte. From there add the powder to various recipes like marshmallows, salad dressings, and even bundt cake.
On a seemingly normal day, my friend and fellow ice cream addict Alisa excitedly mentioned that her neighborhood grocery was now carrying Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream in the freezer section. "Jeni's Splendid what?" I asked her, not having heard of it before. "Only the best ice cream in the whole wide world of ice cream!" she swooned. Like a Looney Tunes cartoon, it was as though her pupils had turned into ice cream cones.
Even though it was 40 degrees outside (not conducive weather for ice cream), it was only a matter of minutes before we made an outrageously expensive purchase of seasonal ice cream flavors like Dark Chocolate Peppermint and Sweet Potato with Toasted Marshmallows. Upon the first spoonful of the organic, grass-fed ice cream, I knew I wouldn't mind paying $12 a pint for this fluffy, creamy stuff that puts the frozen food section to shame. Just ask my fellow food editors how many animated twirls I did around the office when we received a special package from Jeni's recently. So, I preface this ice cream recipe with this declaration: even if the weather's cold and dreary, 'tis always the season for Jeni's ice cream.
This particular recipe uses Jeni's ice cream base with the addition of matcha green tea powder. The matcha is present but not overwhelming and offers a slight grassy, roasted flavor to the cream. It is undeniably Jeni's in character: so fluffy like marshmallows and light like whipped cream, you'll wonder where the whole milk went. I mean, really, how does she do it? Garnish the ice cream with candied ginger for a spicy punch and brown rice puffs for a contrasting bit of crunch.
When we received canisters of the Republic of Tea U-Matcha ($18), our eyes lit up as our imaginations brewed all the possible matcha-flavored recipes we could create. Thus far, I've made matcha tea three ways and matcha salad dressing. Nicole gets a serious surge of excitement over shortbread, which inspired her take on matcha shortbread. As for me, marshmallows are my most coveted sweet, which means I had to develop this recipe immediately.
Instead of the more commonplace addition of vanilla extract, add a matcha slurry of the tea whisked with a little water. The mallows are coated in a vibrant jade powder, made of confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, and matcha. As for the flavor, those who love matcha and green tea will find these pillowy treats don't skimp out on the roasted, earthy green tea flavor. If the bitterness of matcha's a bit much for you, feel free to scale back to the amount listed in the recipe.
Either way, these matcha marshmallows are slightly grassy on the nose but taste like a foamy, sweetened green tea latte. Eat the marshmallows alone or toss them in hot milk chocolate or a tea latte. Swirl them into ice cream or frozen yogurt. I'm even dreaming up a Japanese-style s'mores recipe . . . More on that later, but for now check out the matcha marshmallow recipe.
There is something wonderfully ceremonial about making tea, especially matcha, or finely ground Japanese green tea. Making matcha is a little more complicated than dipping a tea bag into hot water; the emerald-green powder is quickly whisked into a frothy, thick brew. Much like whipping cream, the trick requires a little bit of practice, but we've rounded up a few methods with pictures to help you develop matcha with a beautiful layer of foam.
A traditional Japanese method for preparing matcha calls for a bamboo whisk with superfine tines; however, home cooks can also hack the process using a mini immersion blender or whisk. And while the Japanese take their matcha "green," some drinkers may find the unadulterated mixture too bitter and grassy for their liking. That's why we've included a quick latte recipe for easy matcha drinking. Take a look at three ways to make matcha.
Common in Japanese cuisine, bento boxes consist of divided sections of vegetables, protein, and grains that are carefully arranged in an attractive way to amplify the allure of even the most simple food preparations. They make a tidy take-to-work lunch, too. This Japanese salad, organized in bento fashion, is a fresh take on a fast, easy, and portable lunch option.
The matcha dressing, which draws the flavors of the raw vegetables and tofu together, makes this salad truly memorable. Inspired by a Republic of Tea employee who experimented with The Republic of Tea U-Matcha ($18) in a salad dressing recipe, it was loved so much that the company decided to print the recipe on a pamphlet, which is included in each canister of the tea. I used U-Matcha Yuzu, a citrus-scented matcha green tea, to heighten the fresh, zingy tang of the dressing; however, regular matcha works well in this recipe too.
U-Matcha plays off of the Japanese term umami, the word used to describe the savory flavor in food. Even though matcha in tea form tastes grassy and earthy, when used in recipes like this salad dressing, it bursts with a flavor that is subtly fishy and sea-like (in a good way!).
The sweet carrots, spicy daikon, creamy avocado, tart cabbage, and crumbly tofu combine with the matcha dressing for a color- and flavor-rich salad that engages all the senses of the palate. Prep all the ingredients first, and place them in separate bowls or plastic containers to make it easier and faster to arrange the salad. Bonus: it's a cinch to store any leftovers for another day. Learn how to whisk a batch of matcha dressing for your next bento salad.
I love using color to brighten up my baked goods, but sometimes the idea of adding drop after drop of artificial food dye makes me cringe. So with St. Patrick's Day coming up, the hunt was on to find a natural coloring agent to turn my baked goods a lovely shade of green.
Historically used in Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha is finely milled green tea powder that today finds its way into mochi, soba noodles, ice cream, candy, and pastries to impart a light tea flavor and intense green hue. Although it's not a traditional Irish flavor, I thought I'd test the luck of the, well, Japanese and add it to my Springtime Bundt cake.
Taking the Asian influence a step further, I substituted mochi rice flour for the regular all-purpose flour, which made it denser than the fluffy Bundt cake of yore but a little chewy and texturally interesting. A layer of chocolate gives your palate more to mull over while you chew.
Ready for this different take on a Springtime cake? Just keep reading!
One of my favorite Japanese treats is daifuku manju: sweetened mochi (rice cake) filled with an (sweet bean paste) that is intended to be eaten with tea. I used to love to stop at Benkyo-do in Japantown for a manju sampler: white mochi with red koshi-an (smooth bean paste), pink mochi with white koshi-an, green tea mochi with red tsubushi-an (chunky bean paste). Lately, I have been intrigued with how to infuse my favorite Asian flavors into traditional western pastries, and since cupcakes afford so much flexibility with ingredients and textures, they seemed like a good starting point.
Shopping for an epicurean grandpa who's more well-traveled than you? Fret not. If he's been tasting his way around the globe, chances are, he's open to eating anything.
If he's enjoyed traveling to Japan, present him with this matcha green tea set. Remind him of his trip to Scotland last year with Spey smoked salmon. Or send him an assortment of exotic imports: It's the closest you can get to giving him the world.
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