The word "MATCHA", taken directly from Japanese, conjur images of the rich green powder that punches above its weight in terms of intensity of taste. We dive into the history of matcha along with its nutritional benefits, and to top it off, a few carefully selected matcha sweets--for their ease of recreation at home--will be showcased. Matcha is an ingredient with deep secrets, but once teased out, will allow for enthusiasts to enjoy its riches even more.
Going back in time with Matcha
The origins of matcha is tea, which was brought back by the Japanese envoys to China during the Tang Dynasty at around 800 AD. The tea seeds were carefully planted at the foot of Mount Hiei; the birthplace of what was to become Japan's extensive tea culture. At its inception, though, tea was not treated as the popular drink that it is today, but as a medical herb, which was consumed only by nobility and the upper classes.
It wasn't until Eisai--a monk in the early Kamakura period (1192-1333)-- expanded the practice of tea drinking beyond medicinal purposes and started planting tea in Uji, Kyoto for its wider consumption. This was the beginning of the widespread popularity of tea that we see among the Japanese today. Tea drinking evolved into an art, popularized by the tea master Sen-no-Rikyu and others as expressed in Japanese ""tea ceremony"".
In recent years, attention has shifted from its status as a beverage to that of a plant with strong nutritional and health benefits, which becomes the perfect compliment when discussing how tea, matcha in particular, can enhance sweets!
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Matcha
Matcha, introduced from China to Japan, has secured its status as an irreplaceable ingredient in Japanese food culture. Its fragrant and rich green color contains many beneficial nutrients.
Easy to understand is the potassium in matcha, which contributes to the removal of sodium from the body. The consumption of matcha is thought to be an effective means in lowering blood pressure and preventing strokes.
As matcha is produced from tea leaves, it is also abundant in dietary fiber. This fiber is a nutrient that helps with digestion and absorption in the intestines, helping to regulate the intestinal environment.
Finally, matcha contains beta-carotene, which has been shown to prevent the onset of cancer, and vitamin K, which is essential for strong bones.
Yet, notwithstanding all the reasons for eating more matcha, a challenge looms: many people may find the bitterness of matcha as a hurdle to its regular consumption. A way to offset--and enjoy--the attributes of matcha is to pair it with desserts, commonly known as matcha sweets.
Matcha Chocolate Chip Roll Cake
Love matcha? If so, you'll definitely enjoy this roll cake recipe. We'll knead matcha into the dough and add chocolate chips to the cream, making this dessert a treat for the eyes, nose, and o...
The bitter matcha imbued sponge cake, sweet cream and chocolate chips are a perfect fusion of Japanese and Western sweets. This roll cake is perfect as a dessert after a meal, or as an accompaniment to team time. Delight in the texture of the chocolate chips with the smooth cream is guaranteed!
Matcha Soy Milk Brulee
You’re sure to love this green tea-flavored brûlée! This recipe makes use of soy milk instead of fresh cream, so you don’t have to worry about high calorie intake. Smooth and ...
Replacing the cream with soy milk will save you a lot of calories, alleviating any guilt floating in your subconscious, but retaining the smooth creaminess of the dessert. Soy milk is known to be rich in proteins and isoflavones, all good for health. If you have a burner, try caramelizing the surface to enjoy the difference in textures.
Matcha Basque Cheesecake / Gluten-Free
Looking for a dessert that's both luscious and guilt-free? You'll love this matcha basque cheesecake. Not only is it easy to prepare, but it also has fewer calories because it uses Greek yogur...
A full-bodied Basque cheesecake can be prepared in a few simple steps of mixing and baking. By using rice flour, gluten-free connoisseurs will find all the more reason to love this treat, and using Greek yogurt will help reduce calories. The recipe presented on Umami Recipe is created to be less sweet so the taste of matcha is more pronounced. If you prefer a little more sweet over the bitterness of the matcha, then an additional tablespoon of sugar will do the trick.
Matcha Sweets as a Go-To Dessert
Did you try any of these desserts? How did you like it?
We introduced three representative matcha sweets, hoping to dispel any concern that matcha may be difficult to cook with or bitter to drink. There are so many matcha recipes that are delicious and simple to prepare! Try a few and you may be surprised at what you discover.