I know the internet is hardly short of matcha green tea ice cream recipes, but this is one that I have wanted to make for the longest time and since I first tasted it at Kyoto Garden Sushi in Cape Town.
I had great success with my Rooibos and honey ice cream, so I’m all over tea and ice cream flavour combos. Matcha green tea is not something you can just pick up at your local supermarket here – and I doubt that too many people even know what it is. Only a few speciality tea merchants are stocking it now. We seem to catch on to things about 2 – 3 years after they are huge trends everywhere else in the world. Anyway, I bought a tub at Whole Foods when I was in Vegas with my friend Shanna from PineappleandCoconut.com, and this is my first recipe.
I was hoping my ice cream or the matcha tea powder would deliver a bright and vibrant green, but the green colour came out quite subdued. I am rather disappointed with this as I had visions of styling and shooting it a particular way.
I’m sure they vary from brand to brand, but I bought one with no preservatives all natural etc., so perhaps that is why. As I had never tasted it either, I also wanted to make sure the flavour was spot on.
Green tea is definitely an acquired taste and one which I am now passionately in love with. However, even if you are not a fan of green tea, this matcha ice cream could still be enjoyed as its creamy and sweet with a subtle herbaceous tone. It has such a delicate flavour, no wonder it is the queen of teas and formed part of the Japanese tea ceremony for more than 900 years.
What is matcha green tea:
In case you are unsure what matcha is here are a few pointers:
1. Processing – Unlike tea leaves which infuse in water to yield tea, matcha is the finely ground-up tea leaves themselves which become soluble, thus you are drinking the actual tea leaves. In other words, matcha is a suspension, not a brew.
2. Farming – The green tea plants for matcha are grown in the shade for a few weeks before harvest which boosts the plant’s chlorophyll levels giving it a darker green colour. Only the best buds are picked and dried out. The stems and veins are removed during the processing
3. History – Matcha is originally from China but most of it is produced in Japan. Its the staple on which Japanese tea ceremonies are centered. Only recently has it become popular outside of Japan.
4. Composition – Matcha is a super concentrated green tea which is ingested whole and packed with nutrients and polyphenols (antioxidants). It also contains caffeine – roughly three times more than regular tea, so it can give an energy boost. Unlike the caffeine buzz from coffee though, its more of an ‘alertness’ and a calming buzz (if you can imagine being buzzy and calm at the same time).
5. Preparation – As Part of the Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu) the zen-like preparation involves whisking the powder into a thick emulsion using a bamboo whisk. This tea is called ‘koicha’ and is the style (i.e. ‘thick tea’) that has been adopted by the West. So you will need a cup or tea bowl, a spoon (bamboo is traditional) and a whisk to work the clumps that form out.
The tea gurus would be able to pick out subtle nuances from the tea as to origin and preparation. As with Green tea infusions, the water to make matcha should be below boiling point and around 80C – 85C. Boiling water will scorch the tea and bring out less pleasant flavour tannins. Because of its unique flavour and ability to dissolve it is now used in a variety of food and drink preparations. It lends itself particularly well to dairy, sweets and desserts. I made a white chocolate and green tea fudge and had to grind up green tea leaves to get the powder but now I can’t wait to try this recipe again using matcha.
What pairs well with matcha green tea flavour:
As mentioned matcha goes well with desserts, confectionary and cakes. Its delicious in smoothies, lattes and ice cream. I can’t see why it won’t work in pancakes and in waffles either. I was just wondering what the best flavour pairings are.
These are some of my ideas:
- white, milk and chocolate
- citrus fruits
If you have any ideas about what flavours work with green tea or matcha, let me know down below.
The mild vegetative flavour would pair with seafood and rice, so perhaps a few savoury recipe ideas could be in the making.
Watch this space.
- 2 eggs (free range)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 4 Tbsp matcha green tea powder
- 2 cups cream, heavy or whipping
Beat the eggs until fluffy for about 3 minutes. Slowly add the sugar bit by bit and carry on whisking for a further 3 – 4 minutes until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.
Mix the green tea powder into the milk and whisk until it has dissolved and incorporated.
Add the cream to the egg and sugar mix and whisk for a minute or two until it is starts to increase in volume and thicken.
Add the milk and green tea and mix briefly.
Run the mix through an ice cream maker until ready according to the manufacturer’s instructions.