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How to Cook with Matcha

Updated on December 27, 2014
Rich dark green matcha powder, provided it was grown in shade and tended to religiously.
Rich dark green matcha powder, provided it was grown in shade and tended to religiously.

Matcha 101

In a previous mentioned hub, Matcha is referred to a finely milled green tea powder. The tea is produced from shade grown tea bushes (Gyokuro "shaded tea"). The rich green color is derived from the chlorophyll rich leaves grown in the shade for most of the growing period. The bushes are shaded because to achieve the rich taste of matcha, the leaves of the tea bush needs to be shaded to slow down growth so the bush can stock up on chlorophyll and produce the essential amino acids.

Read more on how to brew matcha tea and learn all the health benefits associated with drinking matcha tea.

Emergence of Matcha

20 years ago, matcha tea was pretty much unfamiliar to the American public. While most people knew about green tea, matcha was still a big unknown to the general public, very few people knew of it's existence outside Japan. The crime definitely fits the punishment as it wasn't readily available and 20 years ago we didn't have the online capabilities we have today. We were pretty much isolated from much of the online knowledge we take for granted today. 20 years later, matcha is found at close to almost all bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery markets. Most importantly, matcha is available through a click of a mouse and can be shipped world wide.

Why so Popular?

Matcha is starting to gain so much popularity in America because drinking and making it has its practical reasons. We obviously drink it for the great benefits; even though it's not proved solidly, we still drink it because of the notion of it being healthy. But we drink it for other practical reasons and the first reason revolves around our busy lifestyle. In our modern age, time is very important and often than not, we don't have enough of it. Our life is all based on convenience and how it caters to our busy schedules; anything that will take the least amount of our time will be very attractive to us. Because the tea is in powder form, it's incredibly convenient for any tea drinker on the go. It doesn't need to be stored in large containers, most matcha containers are in packaged form that can be emptied into 8 oz bottle of water. Also, the time it takes to brew matcha is close to nothing. These selling points definitely makes this drink a trending favorite. Also, because it's beneficial, people flock to this and spread the word about how great it is and how it's so easy to prepare.

Matcha's popularity can be attributed to Starbucks selling matcha lattes. Thus making it wildly well known and coveted.
Matcha's popularity can be attributed to Starbucks selling matcha lattes. Thus making it wildly well known and coveted.

Matcha Poll

Aside from having matcha in various desserts, how likely would you try matcha prepared in the traditional sense?

See results

Why cook with Matcha?

As previously discussed, cooking with Matcha shares much of the same points as when brewing the tea. Because it's in powder form, it's incredibly easy to add as an additive and incredibly convenient because it's so readily available. As great as all that may sound, cooking with matcha is still a great unknown to a lot of people even though it's so readily available. People are still trying to integrate matcha into cuisine in new ways by harnessing it's bold flavors.

Balance is Key:

When cooking with matcha it is important to know that the primary taste of matcha is a very bold bitter flavor. When adding it to a dish, it's paramount to know if it will compliment the other ingredients. Fortunately, matcha can compliment a wide array of foods as a food additive.

It's important to know the primary tastes and know what will balance the focus taste.


5 different tastes work in a check and balance system to keep each other in control when using in a dish.
5 different tastes work in a check and balance system to keep each other in control when using in a dish.

Taste Balance Chart

Taste
Prominent Feature
Balancing Taste
Sweetness
Capability to mellow out the saltiness flavor.
Salty, Savory/fats. Bitter, Sour, Spicy
Saltiness
Capability to tie other tastes together.
Sweet, Savory/fats, Sour
Sourness
Capability to bring brightness and sharpness.
Sweet, Salty, Savory/fats, Bitter
Bitterness
Most misunderstood taste, often associated with disapproval, highly alkaline
Sweet, Salty, Sour
Spiciness
Capability to intensify food by creating dramatic spikes of sharpness
Use less to balance
Savory/Fatty
Capability to extrude all 5 tastes to bring depth and complexity while adding intense richness and intensify flavor.
Sour, Bitter
Balance is a very important key when cooking with all sorts of flavor.

How to Apply Matcha

Because matcha comes in powder form, there are really only two ways of adding matcha to food. Because it is not a leaf tea, it cannot be used in a third way (smoking). So the only two ways are through its initial powder form or as a liquid. Regardless of either way, it can be used to provide the most intense matcha tea infusion of flavor to whatever dish you may be making.

In powder form:

- Matcha can be applied as a rub to various meats. The bitterness will help subdue the fatty flavor to make the meat more tolerable if the select cut of meat is too fatty. Rubbing matcha as a rub will also help with the reduction of carcinogenics that can arise from grilling the piece of meat or charring.

- Garnish desserts by dusting matcha powder to certain pastries such as muffins or cakes.

- Use matcha powder when making bread to be sifted with flour and baked into a matcha green tea bread.

In liquid form:

- Matcha powder tea can be used to marinate various meats.

- When food calls for water to be added, substitute the water for matcha tea rather than water. Based on how much tea infusion is needed, use enough tea powder to your liking.

- Add, powder to make a matcha stock when making a tea based soup.


***Using matcha before it's ground into powder form:

- Matcha prior to it being ground takes the shape of small pieces of tea leaves called Gyokuro or "shaded tea" leaves. At this stage, the tea leaves still has the complex matcha taste, however, it's not in its powder form which allows it to be used in a smoker to give various meats a smoked tea infusion.

Matcha powdered waffles.
Matcha powdered waffles.
Matcha powder rub on steak.
Matcha powder rub on steak.
Matcha latte.
Matcha latte.

A Few Sample Recipes

To give an idea of what matcha can make here is a listing of 3 sample recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

BREAKFAST

Matcha Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Matcha Powder
  • 1/2 Frozen Banana
  • Handful Frozen Mango
  • Handful Frozen Watermelon Cubes

Matcha Waffles

  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp spelt flour
  • 3/4 almond milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp crystalized ginger (or 1/4 tsp ginger powder + 1 Tbsp agave syrup to substitute)
  • 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt (generous pinch)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/3 banana, mashed

Matcha Muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups gluten-free sweet sorghum white flour (Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 Tbsp organic matcha green tea powder (*)
  • 2-3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp organic sugar (Florida Crystals)
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup orange juice (*see notes for non-dairy milk sub)
  • 2 tsp flax seeds
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp safflower oil (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp pistachios (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

LUNCH


Green Tea Pepper Steak

  • 1 1 /4 - 1/2 pounds sirloin steak
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon of Matcha green tea powder
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1 14-ounce can baby corn
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Green Tea Oyster Stew

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 ozs. shucked oysters, undrained
  • 1 tsp. Matcha green tea powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • dash of pepper

Matcha Dumplings

Dough

  • 2 1/4 cups hot water
  • 2 lbs. all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

Filling

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
  • 1 1/2 lbs. finelt chopped napa cabbage
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup suy sauce
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup Half & Half

DINNER


Scallops with Green Tea

  • 1/3 cup crèmes (fraiche)
  • 11/4 tsps matcha (japanese green tea powder divided)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp paprika (hungarian hot)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 18 sea scallops (1 34 pounds)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp fleur de sell (sea salt)
  • 2 tbsps chervil (fresh, optional)

Matcha Green Tea Dipping Sauce (Great for Salads)

  • 2 tsps matcha green tea powder
  • 2 tbsps milk (warm see note)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup yogurt


Green Tea Rice

  • I cup or Jasmine rice
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of matcha powder

DESSERT

Matcha shines best when used in desserts.

Traditional Matcha Tea

  • 2 Scoops (2 teaspoons) Matcha Powder, Thin Matcha Tea (Usucha)
  • 4 Scoops (4 teaspoons) Matcha Powder, Thick Matcha Tea (Koicha)
  • 5 Tablespoons Water, Thin Matcha (Usucha)
  • 3 Tablespoons Water, Thick Matcha (Koicha)
  • Matcha Whisk, To whisk matcha powder and water together.
  • Cha-wan (Bowl)

Matcha Latte

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, or cow's milk
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • Agave syrup

Matcha Popcorn

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 -2 teaspoons
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • Large paper bag

Shaded Gyokuro bushes.
Shaded Gyokuro bushes.
Ground gyokuro, matcha powder.
Ground gyokuro, matcha powder.

Conclusion

Matcha tea is certainly trending, much of the mystery in creating new dishes still lingers; but, after 20 years since its emergence it's never been the same. With all our different ways of getting the coveted tea, we've taken things much for granted. As knowledge is within finger tips away on the net, matcha is also finger tips away from ordering some. Matcha has become a trending hot commodity that caters to our busy lifestyle. However, matcha tea is primarily enjoyed through a ceremony that may take hours. It is important to really take the time to honor and admire matcha what what it is and all its incredible benefits to our culinary world.

Comments

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    • oldiesmusic profile image

      oldiesmusic 

      5 years ago from United States

      I love matcha, I never thought that it could also be a flavoring additive to any dishes, especially savory ones. It's very interesting. :)

    • eatpraylove profile image

      eatpraylove 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      I love green tea! Especially matcha milk tea. It is not just delicious but also very healthy too!

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