Unless you’re living under a hermetically sealed rock in the Baltics, you know that matcha, the shade-grown green tea powder popular in Japanese tea ceremonies, has captured the imagination of the American market. Consumed mostly as a brewed iced or hot drink and alternative to coffee, matcha is flaring up regularly on cocktail and dessert menus. The matcha market is expected to near a staggering $5 billion by 2025, but it’s not only the drink and desert category that green tea and matcha are looking to encroach on. With a roasty, earthy flavor profile and numerous health benefits, green tea—and its trendy spawn, matcha—have chefs contemplating savory applications too.
Instagram-friendly vibrant green hue, and healthy dose of caffeine, matcha is one of the most widely consumed antioxidants, containing more free-radical-fighting chlorophyll than traditionally brewed green tea. Drinking matcha is known to improve brain function and lower the risks of certain cancers, while providing alertness with few reports of the jitters associated with coffee. Beyond an earthy, slightly sweet flavor,
As popular as matcha and green tea have become here with yogis and yachters alike, it’s consumed at an astoundingly higher clip in Asia. With this thousands-year-old cat out of the bag, it’s perhaps no surprise that chefs, like Rachmat Ridwan Hakim, who heads up Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art at the Blue Karma Oasis on the popular destination of Bali, Indonesia, has been working the green tea powder into recipes for a full matcha menu, launched earlier this year. Hakim, originally from West Java and trained in molecular gastronomy, shared some of his inspiration, technique, and recipes for cooking with matcha and green tea.
There are several basic ways to use matcha and/or green tea in savory cooking. Matcha, a ground green tea powder made from pulverized shade-grown green tea leaves, can be used in the way any spice would be or added to spice mixtures. Matcha can also be brewed and incorporated into savory recipes in its liquid form as a broth, base for a sauce, or mixed into marinades. Hakim cautions that matcha flavor can be overpowering in some recipes, and not all brands are processed with the same intensity, so first-timers incorporating the green tea powder into unfamiliar dishes should do so carefully.
How to Brew the Perfect Hot Matcha
- Use roughly 10 ounces of hot water for every teaspoon of matcha powder
- Ensure the matcha is finely sifted into a cup or bowl
- Slowly add the correct amount of just barely boiling water
- Whisk vigorously until the liquid is frothy and has no trace of matcha powder
Matcha as a Dry Ingredient and Seasoning
Because matcha is produced into a fine green tea powder, you can use it as one would any spice, simply dusting it over crepes and other dishes, as Hakim does with several menu items at Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art. The powder can also be added to other seasoning mixes and blends. It plays especially well with other earthy, nutty spices like nutmeg and cardamom, or subtly sweet ingredients like coconut.
As a dry ingredient, matcha can be easily added to blended smoothies, shakes, and breakfast bowls for an instant added boost of green tea flavor and antioxidant properties. It can also be mixed into flour, and added with other dry ingredients to baked goods like cakes and bread.
Matcha in Sauces and Risotto
One of Blue Matcha Art and Dining’s most exciting dishes (and uses of matcha) is a smoked pork belly with paprika and soy, served over matcha and sliced almond risotto. Hakim first brews matcha as he normally would with hot water whisked into a few teaspoons of matcha powder to ensure a smooth creaminess, and then incorporates it slowly into the risotto as you would chicken stock.
Matcha can be incorporated into sauces both sweet and savory. “The trick,” says Hakim, “is to brew a smooth and creamy matcha first” so as not to be left with any residual grainy bits of matcha powder. From there it is easy to whisk matcha into recipes, sauces, curries, marinades, and more.
Brewed matcha can make for a flavorful broth in soups like Japanese ramen and traditional chicken soup. A great option for vegans and vegetarians, the green tea flavors goes especially well with other Asian ingredients like soy, ginger, and coconut milk. If the matcha flavor is too strong on its own, matcha or green tea can be cut with a traditional chicken or vegetable broth.
At Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art, Hakim creates a whimsical matcha jelly by mixing green tea matcha powder with water and gelatin and letting it set. Though firm to the touch, the visually unique jelly cubes melt in your mouth and add a creamy earthiness to salads, parfaits, and desserts.
More Matcha Recipes
Looking to add more antioxidant-rich green tea or matcha to your routine? If you can’t make it to Bali and Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art, may we suggest some of our favorite recipes to try at home?
The tartness of raspberry and the earthy sweetness of matcha are a winning combination and calls for almond flour for all your gluten-free guys and gals. Serve/eat them warm with some homemade whipped cream for best results. Get our Raspberry Matcha Muffins recipe.
Matcha’s sweetness blends perfectly with the heat of this green curry. If not brewing the matcha first make sure the powder is VERY finely ground as not to create lumps and clumps in the sauce. Get the Green Matcha Chicken Curry with Lime recipe.
These ice cream sandwiches have to be one of the fastest ways to make friends. As pretty on the eye as they are delicious when eaten with unusual flavors that go perfectly together. Get our Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream Sandwich with Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies recipe.
This is the ultimate flu-flighting soup. With green tea, garlic, ginger, and vegetables all in one vitamin-packed recipe. Substitute matcha but adjust for the intensified flavor of the broth. Get the Green Tea Ramen Soup recipe.
As Chef Hakim mentions, matcha pairs especially well with nuts. Pistachio and the green tea powder team up for a unique crust or fresh cod, halibut or your favorite white fish. Serve alongside sautéed greens or a fresh salad. Get the Matcha and Pistachio Crusted Cod recipe.
Matcha Green Tea Powder 12oz , $14.99 on Amazon
Get started with this organic matcha powder!
Header image Courtesy of Dishing out Health