Matcha fondue, anyone? I don’t know if the spirits of samurai warriors and Zen Buddhist monks of centuries past are cringing or beaming with pride in the celestial world, on seeing how far their ceremonial drink has pervaded the culinary world in this millennium. Numerous chefs, bakers, food technologists, nutritionists, mixologists and home cooks living in this era have created or reinvented countless dishes and refreshments with the help of the highly regarded green tea powder.
Now, why would this pulverized foodstuff being manufactured in Japan since the 12th century suddenly took today’s culinary circle by a storm? Is it because of its rich history or the fact that modern farming and milling techniques in the country still adhere to ancient production principles that preserves all the green tea’s organic nutrients? The closest educated conjecture is that today’s matcha enthusiasts are obviously drawn by its unique robust flavor and proven nutritive, curative and palliative benefits.
Photo credit: www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com
Add the fact that the silky-smooth green tea powder is superbly adaptable to various flavor profiles and food consistency, making it highly suitable for mixing in with breakfast staples, entrees, desserts, cocktails, baked goods and more. The possibilities are actually bridled only by the extent of our own imaginations. This article aims to explore the prospects on how matcha can be added to various snack dips, spreads and sauces. It will include recipes made by various food savvy individuals, both private and professionals in the F & B industry.
I think it’s only proper to start with the tasty treat already mentioned in the opening line. A fondue is basically composed of a dipping sauce made from melted cheese, chocolate or other food mixtures, served with a variety of bite-sized breads, cookies, fruits, marshmallows and other foodstuffs. The fondue pot is usually served with a spirit lamp underneath to keep the sauce in molten state. This snack is usually enjoyed with friends or families who sit around a table, with each one using a long fondue fork for dipping the morsels into the communal pot before eating them.
This dish that originated in Switzerland, France and Italy has been subjected time and time again to various innovations including the use of a fondue fountain instead of a pot. Check out this cool photo of a luscious matcha fondue fountain served in Shirayuki, a dessert restaurant in Jakarta Indonesia.
Photo credit: www.jakartainfood.blogspot.co.id
Matcha possess a distinct umami taste with neutral quality, meaning it is not in any way near any extreme flavors such as sweet, salty or spicy. For this reason, it can be easily blended with any of the two most popular fondue dips: cheese if you prefer it on the savory side, or chocolate on the sweet side.
You actually just need about a tablespoonful of Culinary Grade matcha powder to enhance the color and flavor of a pot of fondue that serves 2 – 4 people. If you want a stronger taste, just add another scoop of the powder by introducing it to the mixture using the process suggested above. For chocolate fondue, it is a must that you use white, instead of brown chocolate chips or bars so that matcha’s vibrant green color can shine through the thick pottage.
World-traveller and food-lover Keili Gunden of The Tabletop Cook blog did a great matcha – white chocolate fondue (see picture below) that you can try at home. Click HERE to see her complete recipe.
Photo credit: www.thetabletopcook.com
Hummus is a popular snack item in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. It is likewise a favorite among vegans and vegetarians and for those who are simply watching their weights and figures. Hummus makes a savory and zesty dip for carrot, cucumber and celery sticks, as well as for flatbreads and chips. Made primarily from mashed cooked chickpeas, olive oil and other natural flavor enhancers, it is low in fat content and high in dietary fibers, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
The addition of a tablespoon of matcha in hummus does not only supplement the flavor and color profile of the mixture; it also boosts the dip’s nutritional and therapeutic value with loads of antioxidants and amino acids. The vibrant green tea powder can be added directly to the chickpeas, along with the spices and seasonings during the blending process. A few pinches of sifted matcha powder can also be sprinkled on top of the dish prior to serving for added brightness.
Photo credit: www.gururabbit.wordpress.com
A cooking enthusiast and food blogger who just goes by the name Guru Rabbit (because she said she eat like a bunny) shared various recipes for hummus in her blog, including a matcha-infused one called Zen Hummus. A photo of which is shown above. If you want to try making it at home, CLICK HERE to see complete recipe.
Here is one great idea on how you can relish matcha in sweetened form and on top of various baked goods, fruits and other foodstuffs. This creamy green spread can be stored in a sterilized lidded jar and refrigerated, so you can enjoy it for several days.
Besides 2 tablespoons of matcha powder, you would only need a cup of full cream milk, ½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tablespoons sugar to make about a 100ml Matcha Milk Jam. If you want a bigger yield, just tweak the recipe according to the said ratio. I suggest that you try this small amount first before you make adjustments according to your taste preference (e.g. more matcha, less sugar, etc.)
Photo credit: www.rachelrawr.com
The process is quite simple. First, combine the milk, cream, condensed milk and sugar in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Sift the matcha on top of the simmering liquid then whisk briskly until the green tea powder is completely blended. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes then let it cool down before pouring into the jar. Let it cool down completely before putting the lid and refrigerating your Matcha Milk Jam. You can spread it on toasts, muffins, pancakes, fruit slices, etc.
This sauce is not only great for revving up our metabolism and improving our digestive system, it can likewise add layers of flavors and vibrancy on various treats. You can pour it over pancakes, muffins, waffles, French toasts, fruit cups, etc. Matcha’s inherent vegetal and malty quality apparently blends well with the Greek yoghurt’s combination of light sweetness and tanginess.
Photo credit: www.clarkpharm.blogspot.com
This creamy sauce is quick and easy to do and requires only a few ingredients. You just need about half a teaspoon of matcha for every ¼ cup of yoghurt. For this amount, you would also need a few drops of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of sugar or other sweetener like stevia. All you have to do is mix all ingredients together by whisking until completely blended. You may adjust the amount of some components according to your taste preference.
Will and Amanda, a married couple who are both pharmacists by profession, posted an amazing recipe for Chocolate Chunk Pancakes with Matcha Yoghurt Sauce in their blog (shown above). CLICK HERE to see complete recipe
This green, tangy and zesty sauce can be used as a dip, drizzle or dressing for savory snacks, salads and sandwiches. Matcha aioli would make a nice dip for deep-fried appetizers such as calamari, shrimp popcorn, chicken fingers and fries. It can also be used as a sandwich dressing that goes well with burgers, hotdogs, sausages and other savory fillings.
Matcha aioli can be made in a jiffy with the help of your trusty old blender. All you have to do is combine all ingredients and blend it all at once, except for the extra virgin olive oil, which will be gradually added into the mix until desired consistency is achieved. A regular matcha aioli would only require eggs, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and of course, the matcha powder and olive oil.
Photo credit: www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com
Fitness instructor, food stylist and blogger Katie Webster however, made a simple yet ingenious innovation on the sauce by adding basil leaves in the mix, thus giving it a fresh and appetizing pesto flavor. A photo of which, appeared at the beginning of this article. Katie posted a great recipe for a vegan Black Bean Burger in her blog Healthy Seasonal Recipes (shown above), wherein she also featured the said matcha basil aioli. CLICK HERE to see her complete recipe.
Sharpen up those blender blades as you will need it for making this bread spread. Unless you have some kind of nuts allergy you will definitely enjoy this one on top of toasts, donuts, muffins, cupcakes and other baked goods. It would even work well with your favorite fruit jelly or jam.
If you haven’t made nut butter before, it only takes about 15 minutes of your time. You will just need a tablespoon of cooking oil (canola, peanut, coconut or vegetable), a teaspoon or two of honey or vanilla paste, half a teaspoon of kosher or iodized salt and one teaspoon of matcha powder for every cup of roasted nuts.
Photo credit: www.eatthriveglow.com
Matcha will not only give your favorite homemade peanut, almond or cashew butter spread a nice green hue and distinct green tea flavor, but also loads of antioxidants and amino acids. Josie and Tanney featured a recipe of an amazing Matcha Macadamia Nut Butter in their blog Eat Thrive Glow (pictured above). CLICK HERE to see complete recipe.
Thanks for reading and I hope that you find this article truly helpful in your search for other innovative ways of using matcha in everyday dishes.