In Japan, cooks have been using matcha tea powder for centuries, but only now is this aspect of the wonder food gaining traction in the Western world. Remember, too, that one need not use the highest grades of tea for cooking purposes. In fact, growers intentionally create “cooking grade” matcha tea for those consumers who want to add variety, and a hint of Japanese tradition, to practically any dish.
Cooking-grade powder is considerably less costly than the high-grade kind that is used in traditional tea ceremonies. So, have no fear. Cooking with matcha tea powder is inexpensive, fun and nutritious. Remember that recipes are just approximations, so feel free to add or subtract at will, especially as concerns the amount of matcha powder and sugar in this frosting creation.
It’s all about fresh and flavor and frivolity, so put your own spin on the basic ingredients and don’t be afraid to experiment. Here is the cream of the crop. Bon Matcha-tite!
Matcha Cream Cheese Frosting
This is an extremely simple item that even the kitchen-challenged can whip up in no time. Plus, it adds plenty of flavor and color to anything you put it on, whether that’s cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, sheet cookies, wheat or flat bread, and any of a hundred other foods that look and taste better with a sweet dab of topping. The matcha tea powder lends a unique angle to this otherwise age-old frosting concept.
• 8 ounces of cream cheese
• One-half stick of generic butter
• Three cups of powdered sugar, sifted
• Two tbsp. of matcha tea powder
• One-half teaspoon of vanilla extract, perhaps a tiny bit more
After the butter and cheese have reached room temp., beat them until they’re smooth and then add half the matcha powder, half the powdered sugar, and the vanilla. Continue beating while gradually adding the rest of the sugar and matcha tea powder. Use on any type of cupcake of pastry, especially ones that could use a nice dab of green color to make them perfect.
Mint Matcha Iced Tea
What looks like sparkling emeralds, packs a massive health boost, and is refreshingly delicious on a summer afternoon? A tall glass of mint matcha iced tea, that’s what! Think outside the “hot tea” box with this incredibly simple beverage that is the perfect companion to anything you’re having for lunch.
To make enough for two:
Start with two generous pinches of mint, a dollop of honey or your favorite organic sugar, one lime, two teaspoons of matcha (cooking grade) tea powder, two cups of spring water, and as much ice as you like. Do the James Bond thing and toss it all in a cocktail shaker for quick preparation. Pour into two tall glasses and enjoy the best tea this side of Kyoto.
The Super-duper Smoothie, Matcha Style:
This smoothie is not only delicious but can double as a nutritious breakfast if you want to start the morning with a natural boost of energy and a wonderful drink. With a base of almond milk and bananas, you really can’t go wrong with this smoothie.
Ingredients (to make 3 small servings, or two large ones, or just one if no one else is home)
One cup of almond milk
Two frozen bananas
Two or three teaspoons of matcha powder
As much ice and honey as you prefer
Blend. Drink. Start over.
Matcha-Jacks, aka Matcha Pancakes
3 ounces of milk
Two tbsp. of vegetable oil or butter
One or two tbsp. sugar
A dash of vanilla extract
One-half cup of flour
One or two tablespoons of matcha tea powder
One and a half tsp. baking powder
A pinch of salt
Whisk everything together until it’s still a tiny bit lumpy. Place dollops of batter onto a prepared skillet over medium heat and cook for about 30-60 seconds on each side. Serve them stacked, with your favorite topping. Authentic maple syrup will put these hotcakes in the “I can’t believe I’m eating something so wonderful” category. In reality, the unique flavor of this filling breakfast meal comes from you-know-what. That’s right, the matcha tea powder.
The generic recipe secret
Truth be told, you can make just about any recipe into a matcha tea treat. Baked items are the easiest, but drinks and other recipe categories can usually be converted into green masterpieces by following a simple rule: Bake, cook, or mix whatever you normally eat or drink, adding about a teaspoon of matcha green tea powder per serving, or maybe slightly more.
It’s best to experiment with single servings if possible before foisting your new creations on guests or loved ones. That way, you can calibrate the amount of matcha to use. Also, start with just a half teaspoon per serving and add a bit as you prepare the dish, tasting it along the way.
One of the really cool things about matcha is the color it will lend to virtually any food or drink. The natural green sometimes stands alone, and at other times combines with the core recipe foods to render artistic coloring to everyday fare. The real payoff is in the taste. Matcha’s flavor all by itself is fine, but it works amazingly well with baked things like bread, muffins, and cookies.
In drinks, matcha enhances any existing flavor and adds its own culinary creativity to the liquid at hand. For smoothies, homemade popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, sodas and milkshakes, matcha tea magically transforms tired, traditional treats into completely fresh works of art. The flavor is new, nutritious, natural and exciting, especially for those who have never encountered it.
There’s really no reason to limit matcha tea powder to its original role as a base for hot tea. For those who just can’t get enough recipes, or want something to print and stick to the refrigerator, here are some more recipes for everything from matcha donuts to lattes to breakfast cereal. Cooking with matcha tea powder is a delight and requires no additional skill. If you can already prepare a specific dish, adding matcha is the only additional step to the recipe. Good luck, and don’t forget to come back and comment about your results with anything you try.