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Matcha in Mealtime Entrees

Matcha in Mealtime Entrees

The Japanese people have the proclivity to not waste even the tiniest amount of food. This is reflected not only in the way they eat but also in the way they prepare and process foodstuffs. This prevalent attitude brought by their cultural upbringing has obviously spilled in the traditional processing of matcha powder. And thanks to the centuries-old cultivation and production technique involved in pulverizing the green tea leaves, we can ingest most of the green tea leaves’ teeming antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids. On the contrary, most of the plant’s inherent healthful nutrients are usually thrown away in steeped loose leaf and bagged tea drink preparations.

photo source: www.nyrnaturalnews.com

Despite the fact that it usually comes now in various stylish packaging, matcha is still first and foremost, a whole food. Its entire processing does not involve any preservatives or additives (although, I cannot speak for the sweetened varieties in the market). In its most organic form, matcha is intrinsically vegetal with a unique taste of umami, the Japanese all-encompassing term for pleasant complex flavors. For this reason, plus its versatility to blend with other substances, matcha is increasingly being utilized for cooking purposes, an obvious deviation from its original usage in making tea drinks and chai lattes.

Matcha has obviously piqued the interests of numerous professional and home food technicians during the last decade, as evidenced by the wide variety of restaurant dishes, cocktails, packaged desserts and other foodstuffs available in the market that feature the vibrant green tea powder. Even the cyberspace pages of various cookbooks are inundated with matcha-infused recipes by renowned chefs and other food savvy individuals.

Here are a few ideas and examples on how matcha can be incorporated in various lunch or dinner entrees:

 

Matcha in Pasta Dishes

photo source: dailyfoodporn.wordpress.com

There are many different ways to instill the highly nutritious matcha green tea powder in delicious pasta dishes. Its finely pulverized form makes it ideal for mixing with other ingredients including powdered foodstuffs such as flour, sugar and various seasonings. 

Matcha can be mixed directly to the pasta dough, thus giving it a lovely green hue, while supplementing both its flavor profile and its dietary value in the process. It can likewise be infused in sauces or used as incremental seasoning for meat and seafood dish components. The silky smooth green powder can also be blended with composed fillings for stuffed pastas such as ravioli, agnolotti, cannelloni, etc.

Pictured above is a matcha-infused dish called ‘Matcha Pasta on a Flower Bed’ created by the person behind the blog Gourmande in Osaka. It is so lusciously vibrant that it looked like ‘spring on a plate’. Sadly though, the author liked to maintain his or her anonymity, so there is not much I can tell of the person except that he or she is a prolific recipe creator and a terrific photographer.

Click HERE to get complete recipe.

To see more amazing matcha-infused pasta dishes, Click HERE

 

Matcha in Sautéed or Pan-fried Meat Dishes

photo source: j-simplerecipes.com

The flavorful green tea powder can be used as an incremental dry rub or crusting for the meat cut itself. It can likewise be added to marinades and breading mixtures, as well as in sauces and creams for topping or drizzling fried meats. Matcha can also be stirred in with the oil, fat or butter while being heated in the pan as a prelude to sautéing or frying, or it can be used as dusting for cooked beef, pork or chicken before serving. 

Shown in the photo above is a dish called ‘Chicken Sauté with Matcha Butter Sauce’. Kenji and Manami Imai feature it in their blog called J-Simple Recipes, a shortened name for ‘Japanese Simple Recipes’. The Japan-based brother and sister team behind the website aims to propagate knowledge about their country’s distinctive cuisine as well as their culture in general. Their site is a treasure trove for recipes that showcase well the flavors of the land of the rising sun. 

Click HERE to get complete recipe.

 

Matcha in Roasted Meat Dishes

photo source: matchaflan.wordpress.com

As in pan-fried meat dishes, matcha can be used as an incremental dry rub or crusting powder for the meat prior to roasting it in the oven. You can spread the green tea powder mixed with other seasonings in a flat pan or dish, where you roll over the meat before cooking, giving it an extra layer of flavor and coloring. You can even mix the powder with the basting liquid for moistening the meat in the oven or rotisserie. Sifted raw matcha powder can also be sprinkled on top of the dish prior to serving for added presentation.

Featured above is the photo of ‘Matcha Roasted Pork Belly with Chimichurri Sauce’ made by a blogger that goes by the name matchaflan. The dish is a perfect example of how the matcha powder was used as a dry rub to coat the meat before roasting, thus giving it a tasty green crust.

Click HERE to get complete recipe.

 

Matcha in Whole Grain Dishes

photo source: www.fromcalculustocupcakes.com

The simplest way to incorporate matcha in rice, quinoa, oats or other whole grain dishes is by mixing it to the water or other cooking liquid while it simmers or right after the heat was turned off. In the case of risotto or oatmeal, the green tea powder can be stirred in while the dish cooks in the pan or pot over a working stove. One thing to remember is that matcha is practically like green leafy vegetables that should not be overcooked, so as not to lessen its flavor quality and nutritive content.

The possibilities of instilling matcha in this particular food group are actually great and limited only by the borders of our own imagination. In Japan, they have a light and simple dish called ‘ochazuki’ (shown at the start of this article), which involves pouring hot matcha tea over a bowl of hot steamed rice topped with savory components like dried fish, tomato, dried seaweeds, etc. Another idea for this preparation involves dissolving the green tea powder in steaming broths like chicken stock or beef stock for added flavor.

Grain foods are usually served with other viands such as meat, seafood and vegetables. One example of this is a dish made by Michelle, a former calculus teacher turned food technician and blogger. It is called ‘Red Curry Shrimp with Matcha Rice’, and it is shown above as featured in her site named From Calculus to Cupcakes.

Click HERE to get complete recipe.

 

Matcha in Baked Seafood Dishes

photo source: www.hungrybruno.blogspot.com

Matcha’s organic umami flavor works really well with the natural taste of various sea bounties. The finely grounded green tea leaves can be used both to season and crust meaty filets of fish before cooking, and as topping for various seafood dishes prior to serving. It can likewise be mixed with sauces and dashi stocks to be used as soup bases, top flavorings or garnish for grilled, baked, or pan-fried fish or crustacean meats.

Since both seafood and matcha are part of the daily diets of most Japanese, we can speculate that these two natural foodstuffs can be combined in many different ways to make scrumptious mealtime dishes. We can also assume that these staples played a part in the longevity of many of the nation’s citizens. In fact, the land of the rising sun has the most centenarians that lived in this and the previous century than any other country in the world.

Adrienne Bruno has featured a lovely plate of ‘Matcha and Pistachio Crusted Fish’ in her blog called Hungry Bruno, which you can try at home. The mouthwatering dish, as shown in the photo above, is one of the showcased recipes in her food-centric website.

Click HERE to get complete recipe.

 

Whatever we discussed here is literally just the tip of the iceberg. Evidently, matcha can be mixed and matched with a wide variety of proteins and other ingredients. It can also be employed in many different culinary techniques using various cooking implements. Watch out for more matcha-infused recipes from a number of talented and food savvy individuals in my future postings. Thanks for reading!