Matcha is so much more than just the cheery green beverage getting all the latte hype. Matcha is a high-grade green tea ground into powdered form. It’s traditionally whisked into hot water, instead of being steeped, creating a frothy drink. The act of preparing, presenting and sipping matcha tea is central to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. But while matcha’s origins are ceremonial, matcha has expanded beyond the tradition and is a super-ingredient easily used in everything from ice cream to salad dressing.
It is worth noting that in Japanese tea ceremonies, the temperature of the water is carefully regulated, as scalding hot water can change the flavor of the tender tea leaf powder. For best results, use your matcha powder carefully and recognize the flavor may change a bit as your foods and recipes take shape, taking on a more roasted flavor profile.
One more note: As you start shopping for matcha, you’ll find different grades. Ceremonial grade matcha is made with the youngest tea leaves, designed for drinking straight and without blending or mingling with other ingredients. It has a very even, smooth flavor. Culinary-grade matcha is still very high quality but is typically a blended tea designed for use in conjunction with other ingredients. Seek culinary grade to honor the flavor of the tea, and as a favor to your pocketbook.
Here are a few brilliant ways to cook with matcha:
The next time you’re making oatmeal and looking to amp it up, stir in a teaspoon of matcha tea. It adds a little bump of antioxidants and a small hit of caffeine while lending a grounding flavor. This recipe for matcha vanilla oats is a rich, creamy, dreamy green option. You can also play with your own combination. A teaspoon is all the matcha punch you’ll need for a single cup of oats.
You can try the same trick to make a savory breakfast, too. Use matcha to flavor the cooking water for rice, farro or quinoa. Add 1 teaspoon of matcha tea to 1 cup of water, then use the water to cook your grains. Enjoy with whatever savory toppings you love most (fried eggs, sesame seed sprinkle, sauteéd greens) Be careful to warm the water slowly so as not to scald the matcha while preparing.
Matcha Vanilla Oatmeal
- 1 cup (90g) quick-cooking oats (gluten-free, if needed)
- Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup (250ml) almond milk (homemade is best!)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon high-quality matcha powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 medium banana, for topping (can substitute with the fruit of your choice like kiwi, grapes or shredded coconut)
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, for topping
Bring 1 cup (235ml) water to a boil in a pot. Add the oats, a pinch of salt and the almond milk, reduce heat to low and cover; let simmer for 8–10 minutes or until the oats are tender. (*Time may vary depending on your oats; check your package directions.)
Once the oats are cooked, turn off the heat and stir in vanilla extract, matcha powder and maple syrup. Mix until well combined.
Divide into two bowls or jars and top with fresh fruit and hemp seeds.
Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 288; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 88g; Carbohydrate: 53g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 17g; Protein: 8g
The health benefits of matcha are huge — sip the green stuff for a sustained energy boost, loads of antioxidants, a “calm-alertness” (thanks to an amino acid called L-Theanine), a metabolism boost and a jitter-free caffeine-jolt. The flavor is pretty spectacular, too, especially when poured on a salad, used as a dip or drizzled over a grain bowl. This creamy, herbaceous, tart, earthy dressing is ultra-green and ultimately delicious.
- 1 cup (245g) plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, very finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons matcha powder
- 2 teaspoons grated lime peel
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl or glass jar, use water to thin as needed. Drizzle over salads, grain bowls and anywhere else you want a tart-earthy kick. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Serves: 8 | Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 29; Total Fat: 1g; Saturated Fat: g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 47mg; Carbohydrate: 3g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 1g
It’s not uncommon to find matcha ice cream these days, and with this churn-free vegan recipe, you can make your own semifreddo-style ice cream at home. If you want to make a gluten-free version, use gluten-free graham crackers for the crust.
Coconut Matcha Semifreddo
For the cookie crust
- 12–16 graham crackers (for roughly 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons almond milk or coconut milk
For the matcha ice cream
- 2 13.5-ounce (398ml) cans coconut milk, chilled for 6 hours in the fridge
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons culinary-grade matcha powder
- 3/4 cup (130g) vegan chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
Chill your coconut milk cans in the fridge for at least 6 hours. This helps the texture of your ice cream. If you’re going to use a metal bowl to whip the coconut milk, be sure to chill the bowl and the whisk as well for at least 30 minutes.
Place your graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to crumbs. Add the coconut milk and coconut oil, and pulse until the mixture starts to stick together. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with waxed paper so there’s ample overhang on two of the sides, then press the graham mixture into the bottom of the pan. Press the cookie mixture down so it coats the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
When the coconut milk is nice and cold, open the cans and scoop the coconut cream from the top. Save the thinner, less creamy coconut milk for another purpose. Whip the coconut cream in the chilled bowl of a stand mixer or electric mixer until thick and creamy. Once it reaches a nice volume, add the maple and vanilla. Last, add the matcha powder. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form on the end of the whisk when you remove it from the bowl.
Then, scrape your matcha-coconut mixture into the prepared loaf pan with a rubber spatula, layering over the cookie crumble. Smooth the top with the spatula, then cover the top with the overhanging waxed paper. This helps protect the ice cream from freezer burn, so if you need to cut a new piece of waxed paper to cover, go for it.
Freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hours, until firm.
While the ice cream is setting, you can make your chocolate coating. In a small bowl set over a pot containing 1-inch of simmering water gently melt the chocolate. Do not allow the water to boil. Alternately, microwave the chocolate in 30-second increments. When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and add the coconut oil. Stir to combine completely, set aside.
After the ice cream is firm, remove from the freezer. Take the wax paper off the top, and drizzle with the chocolate to your liking. The remaining the chocolate coating can be stored in an airtight container for another purpose. The room temperature chocolate sets quickly on the cold ice cream, but you can return it to the freezer for a few moments to speed the process.
Take your semifreddo out of the pan and unwrap it. You’ll probably want to let it sit out for 10 minutes or so before serving to soften. Use the wax paper overhang to pull the semifreddo from the pan like a sling, then slice into 1-inch pieces and serve.
Serves: 9 | Serving Size: 1-inch slice
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 113; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: mg; Sodium: 58mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 1g
A tablespoon of matcha is all you need to green your baked goods. Add it as a mix-in to pancake batter, muffins, scones, cakes or anywhere you are looking for a hit of subtle green, an earthy flavor and a healthy boost. This Matcha Coconut Cake with Lime Glaze is a favorite, and it puts matcha front and center. The coconut adds richness; the lime some levity.
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