Our matcha expert shares tips and tricks for cooking with the versatile ingredient – WKRG News 5

As more people become more health conscious and seek ways to live more resilient lives, foods that have been around for centuries continue to prove the best nutritional options. Matcha is a prime example of an ancient superfood that has only gained popularity in the US in recent years. It’s touted as having a plethora of health benefits — and many are backed by scientific research — so people want to know, “How can I get this magical ingredient into my diet?” Our resident matcha expert, Becca Du, creator of the matcha recipe blog Cooking Therapy, answers these questions and more.

Matcha 101

What is matcha?

Matcha is made from Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub grown in Japan. Plants are shaded about two weeks before harvest as the darkened growing conditions produce softer, sweeter, and lighter foliage. After harvesting, the leaves are steamed and dried before workers remove stems, branches, and other unwanted elements. These pure leaves are ground into a powder rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

How does matcha taste?

According to Du, the taste of matcha is very specific. “It’s like a tea taste. But it’s also earthy and actually bitter.” For this reason, Matcha is very suitable for desserts with a lot of sugar. If you don’t balance the bitterness with enough sweetness, the taste can be quite off-putting.

Are there different types of Matcha?

You can buy ceremonial grade matcha or culinary grade matcha. Although these two types are similar, the way they are meant to be used is very different.

“Ceremonial matcha powder is used for tea and tea ceremonies,” Du said. It should be whisked with hot water and consumed pure. “Generally people don’t bake with it because it’s very expensive.”

Culinary matcha powder, on the other hand, is intended as an ingredient for matcha lattes and for baking. “When you bake stuff in the oven, things lose both their color and their flavor,” Du said. “But culinary grade matcha powder, especially really premium matcha powder, retains that color and flavor really well.”

What Are the Health Benefits of Matcha?

According to the National Institutes of Health, matcha has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. For example, the phenolic acids found in plants have been reported to “inhibit cancer cell growth and prevent metastasis.” In more general situations, matcha can improve cognitive function and memory, reduce stress, slow down the aging process, regulate insulin secretion, strengthen blood vessels, reduce inflammation, and more.

Kitchen tools and gadgets needed for matcha

When working with matcha it is important to have a matcha sieve as the distance between the wires is very small. Du said: “A big problem with baking with matcha is that it tends to clump. You really need to sift it into your dry ingredients or batter. That’s one of the keys to a very consistent green color.”

If you want to drink matcha, a matcha whisk or chasen is essential to thoroughly mix the powder and water. You’ll also need a special matcha bowl, or chawan, big enough so you can quickly move the whisk in a “W” pattern — if the bowl is too small, you won’t be able to make an evenly frothy drink with the flavor distributed. Also, the sides need to be high enough so the matcha doesn’t spill out, but low enough that your whisk can easily touch the bottom of the bowl.

6 tips for people starting out with matcha

  • Drink matcha before trying a recipe so you know how it tastes.
  • Start with sweet recipes, as matcha is a bit more difficult to incorporate into savory foods.
  • Pick a recipe that you’re really looking forward to. It’s easy to have good intentions and bake something healthy that you might not be thrilled about.
  • Because matcha powder contains a bit of moisture, it doesn’t really lend itself well to cookies, scones, or shortbread cookies.
  • Use high-quality matcha. It’s a bit more expensive, but it really makes a difference in flavor and color. If you’re using low-quality matcha, you may need to add more than the recipe calls for to get the results you want.
  • Do not give up. A matcha recipe can be difficult to master. But once you’ve done it, it’s worth the effort.

Best Matcha Desserts

When asked about his favorite desserts, Du replied, “I love my matcha white chocolate chip cookies. I think they are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. I also love my matcha brownies.” Our expert also makes a delicious tiramisu with matcha mascarpone cream and matcha powder on top.

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Culinary quality Aiya Matcha

Culinary quality Aiya Matcha

This matcha has a special blend that provides colour, aroma and nutritional benefits. It is ideal for baking recipes.

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Encha’s latte-grade matcha uses tender leaves from Kyoto’s Uji Mountains to create a premium, USDA-certified organic option. It has a velvety texture and a balance of sweet and earthy flavors.

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The smooth interior of this matcha bowl makes it easy to whip lump-free tea. The set comes with a 30-day no-chip guarantee with free replacement for peace of mind.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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